According to "Education Week," the Montgomery County Public Schools have the highest graduation rate among the nation’s largest school districts. Click here to read the wonderful news.
I’m a realist and see both sides of everything. So, if 86 percent of MCPS high schoolers graduate from a typical class, then 14 percent dropped out, right? (Note: "Education Week" calculated its 86 percent graduation rate for the MCPS senior class of 2008. One can read more about the publication's "Diplomas Count" project by clicking here.)
Fourteen percent is a lot of students. A typical MCPS class or cohort is roughly 10,000 students. Fourteen percent equals 1,400 dropouts—which is a lot of students to lose along the way to their high school graduations.
Let’s provide a little perspective.
Damascus High, Northwood High, Rockville High, and Seneca Valley High each enroll approximately 1,400 students. Click here to check enrollments
Now, could any of us ever imagine Rockville High School not graduating any of its students for four straight years? Would we tolerate Rockville shutting down for an entire school year? Closing its doors on its 1,400 students? Of course not! And yet, that small 14 percent represents a building full of kids.
Fourteen hundred dropouts from a single class or cohort of MCPS kids is a lot of wasted futures. And if we add up the dropouts across multiple classes the numbers quickly sum to totals that are pretty shocking. Twelve senior classes under Superintendent Jerry Weast equals 16,800 dropouts.
So after celebrating the 86 percent—it is worth celebrating—is there anyone asking questions about what happened to the 14 percent that didn’t graduate? Where the heck do 1,400 students disappear to? I hope someone is asking questions. And I hope I’m not the only one alarmed by the raw number of dropouts.