What is Behind Low Grad Rates in Buffalo?

11:51 PM, Jun 20, 2013   |    comments
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BUFFALO, NY - The way the state education department calculates the numbers don't really reflect what is happening in every high school in Buffalo.  The dismal graduation numbers led 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing to seek perspective behind the numbers.

If a student enrolls at a school and never returns, or if a student transfers or leaves a school, they are counted, even though they aren't there....the transient problems hampers the graduation number.

We spoke with one of the district's community superintendents who supervises principals. He provided us with figures for South Park High school. In 2008, South Park High School had 245 enrolled ninth grade students. 54% graduated in 2012, 13% stayed longer and will likely graduate this year. However, 31% dropped out.

Dr. David Mauricio, community superintendent for Buffalo Schools, said "when you look at percentages, there's a story behind the percentage."

For example, the so-called one day rule. "It used to be a student had to be in school for five months within that school year, in order for that student to be part of that cohort, that was changed about 2-years ago, and there's a one day rule. So if a student is enrolled in your school for one day, they become part of your cohort."

The numbers are not good on average. "It's certainly a challenge that keeps us all up at night. It is alarming, something that we're taking very seriously, There are aspects behind it that indicate that the numbers sometime aren't exactly what they're portrayed as, but it is something we have to strive for," said Dr. Mauricio.

The district is pushing for an 80% graduation rate in 2018.

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