WCSD, it was reported the other day in the Reno Gazette Journal, increased by considerable amounts its graduation rate. Today, the newspaper reports, there is a “catch.” I, being a skeptic and a long term WCSD watcher, held back on questioning what the great numbers might indicate in terms of real achievement. I know I am perceived by some in “higher” places to be too harsh a critic of WCSD, a crank to some.
But, over the years, reporting from the District on improvements to its academic programs have far too often been erroneous, statistics manipulated to show gains when no meaningful gains were achieved. So, the new highest graduation rates in the history of the District, when reported, led me to wonder–of course.
Today, in the RGJ, a paper that will not allow me to link its stories to my posts, the graduation rate story was on the front page, the headline containing the word “catch” because the the graduating class being cited was held to graduation requirements different from those of previous classes. This, said the Superintendent, who has promised to boost the rate of graduation, should be looked at, the new graduation requirements, as a minor factor in the uptick.
There were other interesting asides that should make anyone who cares not only about how many but how good to give consideration to the meaning of the wonderful numbers being reported and to the way in which the superintendent goes about making little of what might be very much.