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Only 52% of LAUSD's High Schoolers Made it to Graduation

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Photo by Steven Fernandez via Flickr

Photo by Steven Fernandez via Flickr
More high school students attending LAUSD schools are dropping out before graduating, according to the Daily News. However, figures compiled by the LAUSD show there are more dropouts, but by a decreasing rate, as opposed to what's reported in figures released by the California Department of Education.

According to the state's DOE, "69.6 percent of LAUSD's students graduated high school in four years in 2008-09, compared to 72.4 percent in 2007-08." By contrast, and using a different method of calculation, the LAUSD says "52 percent of their high school students graduated in four years in 2008-09," which shows "a gain from 2007-08, when just 46 percent of high school students graduated in four years."

The LAUSD is disputing the figures from the DOE. The state uses a formula to calculate graduation and drop-out rates, whereas the LAUSD tracks individual students. Funding for the data collection program the state administers was cut last year by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, further hindering and delaying the process.

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LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines acknowledges that their current grad rates show the truth, but that the truth isn't always going to be "a beautiful picture."

It is an ugly reality, indeed, that the graduation rate for students in the nation's second-largest public school district continues to hover at the half-way mark. Statewide, the graduation rate for students within the four-year mark was at 70 percent for 2008-2009, a figure that outgoing State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell finds disheartening. Locally, Cortines, who is poised to retire in 2011, says he will look at unsuccessful schools and put an improvement plan in place, rather than merely suggest improvements.