Wednesday, April 23, 2008

New Evidence Archive Project is working!

The Texas Education Agency in March released on their web site the 2007-2008 enrollment data for schools in Texas. From this data the enrollment data for the two high schools (Pinkston and Sunset) that Quintanilla Middle School feeds into was selected and studied going back for the past 4 years. It showed a consistent pattern for both high schools:

1) Initially in 2005-2006 9th grade enrollment went up at both high schools. That freshman class included members from the first Quintanilla class to write letters for the Archive.
2) For the next two years at each school 9th grade enrollment went down - probably indicating that fewer students were failing 9th grade each year at each school.
3) Additional indications that fewer were failing 9th grade each year is found in the fact that 10th grade enrollment went up every year during this same time at each school.

These numbers indicate something good was happening for students at each of these schools. A study selecting out for Quintanilla students at each of these schools is needed to verify that they were the source for most of these positive enrollment changes over past 4 years. That is being requested.

The value of focusing students onto their own futures and their own achievements appears to be working!

The spreadsheet containing these numbers for these two schools can be downloaded from Please let me know of any errors seen.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

4-19-08 Presentation on School Archive Project

The Middle School Archive Project will be described as one of the presentations at a community meeting at 10 AM on 4-19-08 at the Pleasant Mound/Urban Park United Methodist Church at 8301 Bruton Rd. in Dallas.

Dropout Counting in the News

This past week dropout issues were in the news. Dallas found that their dropout rate is the seventh worst in the nation. However, among cities of a million or more population, Dallas would have been at the bottom of the list, the worst student dropout rate in the nation! This status was also given Dallas for numbers from the graduation class of 2004. Since then the graduation numbers have continued to go down. In 2007 Dallas had the highest percentage of seniors who failed to graduate for any Dallas ISD class since before 1997! For the class of 2007 16% of the seniors failed to receive a diploma! See for the painful numeric details.

By 2007 the graduation rate in Dallas ISD had fallen to 40.5%, 4 percentage points below the 2004 rate!

This week U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced that they would be requiring all states to use the same definition for dropout rates nationwide. It is long overdue!

The common dropout definition to be used needs to be simple, easy to track and verify, and fully transparent. In search of the needed transparency these numbers should be reflected easily for each school district in an annually updated spreadsheet of enrollment by grade. That spreadsheet should include the annual count given for diplomas actually granted, and at least 10 years of enrollment & graduation history. A spreadsheet similar to the one at is recommended. Every school district in the nation needs such a simple spreadsheet easily available on their web site. It would expose what is really happening.

Yes, there will certainly be things that happen in all communities that cause these numbers to fluctuate annually. Those events should be explained in footnotes to the spreadsheet and never be allowed to compromise the validity of the numbers given in the spreadsheet. Too much has been hidden for decades about what is happening to our children. Simple true numbers and statistics must be mandated. If any educational administrator is fearful for their employment due to what is reflected, they should be able to explain those fluctuations, but not change the numbers reported.

The goal is to be consistent throughout the US so numbers in every state can be validly compared with those in any other state.