Saturday, February 23, 2008

Statistics never lie but liars use Statistics

Dave's analysis that the CDRP Dropout Report is Not All That Valuable reminded me of the saying "Statistics never lie but liars use Statistics."

The California Dropout Research Project released a report on the dropout rate. It shows that the dropout rate for charter schools and alternative schools is higher that normal public schools.

But Dave found that if you dug into the report:

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Looking at the data from the California Department of Education that CDRP used, there are some pretty big differences in the data from charters and alternative programs.
For example, CDRP showed Los Angeles Unified's dropout rate for traditional schools as 4.1%. They showed the combined charter/alternative dropout rate as 12.2%. If you break out the charter schools separately, the results are quite illuminating. The dropout rate of alternative programs in LAUSD is a whopping 20.7% while the charter school rate is 0.9%, even lower than the traditional schools. Even more telling is that charter schools are only responsible for 112 of the 10,588 dropouts in LAUSD that year. That's only .001% of the dropouts. In LAUSD, charter schools are not problem.
In San Francisco Unified, alternative schools have a 10.6% dropout rate compared to 1.7% for the charter schools. They're not the problem there either.

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I wonder if we'll hear a public outcry on the dishonesty of this report?


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Technorati tags: public school, public education, education

4 comments:

Crimson Wife said...

Thanks for publicizing these! They are the exact thing I was wondering about when I heard about the report. Someone at the CDRP obviously has a bias against charter schools and wants to make them look bad :-(

Henry Cate said...

You are welcome.

I could understand lumping charter schools and alternative schools had similar dropout rates, but when there is such a disparity it is clearly dishonest.

Joseph said...

Did you say that 112 out of 541 students dropping out in L.A. is not a problem?

Henry Cate said...

I'm not sure where the number 541 comes from.

My issue is it is wrong to give the impression that charter schools have a big problem with lots of children dropping out. It would be nice to worry about the 112 student.

First we should focus on the 10,476 students that dropped out of regular schools.