Tag Archives: high schools

A Little Rain on the Graduation Rate Parade

What’s in a number? If you’re talking about educational choice, numbers like the ones coming out of Arrupe Jesuit High School can be beacons of hope for tough populations of kids. In other cases, numbers can convey more concerning trends. And in still other cases, numbers can be rigged in such a way that they don’t tell the full story. I was reminded of the importance of questioning numbers in the education debate yesterday as I read a great Denver Post piece from the Education Commission of the States’ Peter Huidekoper. The piece points out a disconcerting disconnect (alliteration!) between higher graduation numbers, low ACT scores, and ugly remediation rates in some Colorado schools. For those who don’t know, “remediation rate” refers to the percentage of students who require remedial courses in college before they begin full-fledged coursework. If you’re feeling a bit nerdy and want to dive deeper, the Colorado Department of Higher Education just released the 2014 Legislative Report on Remedial Education, which somewhat paradoxically covers 2013 high school graduates. (For the record, I believe there are significant limitations when it comes to how Colorado calculates its remediation rate. But that’s a discussion for another time…) Huidekoper starts […]


Arts Education is Good, But Does it Help Students in Reading and Math?

Today’s Rocky Mountain News explains Colorado education leaders’ attempt to put greater emphasis on the arts in the state’s new standards and assessments: [Commissioner of Education Dwight] Jones and [Lieutenant Governor Barbara] O’Brien addressed a news conference called to highlight a report showing that many Colorado students are not exposed to the arts, which include music, theater and dance, as well as the visual arts. The report, prepared for the Colorado Department of Education and the Colorado Council on the Arts, shows that art is offered at 93 percent of elementary schools, 86 percent of middle schools and 83 percent of high schools. But 29,000 students attend schools that do not offer art, the study found. Statewide, 53 percent of high school students don’t take art, which is not mandatory even at schools where it is offered. The study found that 75 percent of principals say the arts are being squeezed by the need to focus on reading, writing and math. One of the findings of the new report says that arts education “associates with higher scores” on CSAP tests. But as my smart friends at the Education Policy Center point out, the fact that the two items are associated […]