Saturday, October 20, 2012

Is a 100% graduation rate realistic?

SPARC member Al Guyant called it out at the annual electors meeting: 98% is not good enough.  He asked how much it would cost to reach 99.99%   Well, Mr. Guyant, if you read up on school finance, you would know that we have these things called Revenue Limits".  And Sun Prairie is levying about $2.3M under the revenue limit.  So that's it, Al...we could spend an additional $2.3M.

So... assuming the graduation rate is 98% (we'll get back to that), at 484 students enrolled in 12th grade last year, 98% graduation means that about 10 kids did not graduate.  What are Mr. Guyant's ideas on how to make that $2.3M ensure that those 10 kids graduated?   Do we offer them $230,000 each if they graduate? Hey...that's a novel idea.  Kind of in line with the whole pay-for-performance concept.

Seriously though.  You cannot equate food safety and engineering safety with high school graduation rates.  That's really pretty ludicrous.  It's like something that would come out of Mitt Romney's mouth.  Also...the last time we checked, this was still a free country.  A 17-year old girl has the right to make decisions regarding her body, so why on earth would she not be allowed to make a decision regarding finishing high school?  We may not agree with her choice, but the choice is hers nonetheless.'s where we agree with Mr. Guyant (the AlSparc):  any increase we can make in the graduation rate is a good thing.  But we'll stop there.  We'd really like world peace, too; but does Mr. Guyant think THAT's realistic??  We're not gonna just throw money at the problem.  Hell, as one community resident pointed out, we have more named courtyards than we do National Merit Scholars.  We built a Taj Mahal for a high know...if you build it, they will graduate.  So money isn't the problem.  You cannot force kids to want an education.  In fact, doing so may have adverse impact on those that DO want to be in school and learn.
[Spending money isn't going to improve graduation rates]..."we have more named courtyards than we do National Merit Scholars."
-- a community resident
There are numerous studies out there that will tell you that 100% graduation rates are unrealistic in the long term.  Sure some smaller schools may have 100% here and there.  Let's get real.  And people should really do a little research before making such grandiose points in public.