State officials celebrated another “record high” in graduation rates on Monday.
Graduation rates have substantially increased over the past five years. Of the state’s 180 high schools, 107 have increased their graduation rates by more than 1 percent, and 16 high schools saw increases above 10 percent. (See school-by-school rates below.)
“You ought to applaud that I think,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said at a high school in New Haven while releasing the graduation rates.
However, not all schools had reason to celebrate, as 33 high schools saw their graduation rates decrease by more than 1 percent.
What to make of graduation rates has been a focus of much scrutiny in recent months, after a handful of educators testified during a school funding trial last year that it is possible to graduate high school – and be illiterate.
These rising graduation rates coupled with low standardized test scores and high demand for remedial courses when students reach college were among the reasons that Hartford Superior Court Judge Thomas Moukawsher ruled that the state fails to provide students with the education the state constitution says they are entitled to.
“What it means to have a secondary education is like a sugar-cube boat. It dissolves before it’s half launched,” Judge Thomas Moukawsher wrote in a scathing indictment of the education students receive in the state’s most impoverished districts. “State graduation and advancement standards are so loose that in struggling cities the neediest are leaving schools with diplomas but without the education we promise them.”
He ordered the state to end the practice of socially promoting students and come up with meaningful graduation standards. Members of the legislature do not seem poised to act and instead have said they intend to see if the Connecticut Supreme Court upholds the judge’s order.