MDUSD Graduation Rates Still Lag Contra Costa Average

4 Responses

  1. Cee says:

    With regard to your key question, College Park has a larger and more diverse student population than NHS and is also in the MDUSD-yet they have a higher graduation rate. Is it fair to blame the district if the students at NHS are underachieving? MDUSD surely does many things wrong, but “underachieving” refers to students not living up to their potential. How will that change under a community based school district?

    • Cee,

      The use of “under-achieving” to refer to NHS students was simply recognizing the fact that a major goal of virtually all high school students is to graduate, so in the sense that students do not achieve that goal, they are under-achieving. And if too many students in a high school learning community are not achieving such a critical, over-arching goal, in comparison with other similar, or even less-advantaged schools, then it seems logical to conclude that the school is under-performing the expectations for it.

      But let’s move beyond semantics to the crux of the question: why is this happening at Northgate? We cannot point fingers just at curriculum or staffing, although those may be very Important in this case. We just don’t know. That’s why we are asking!

      Graduation rates are often influenced by a host of factors other than a school’s demographic profile, including course offerings that address the needs of non-college-bound students, the availability and quality of counseling services, the availability of extra-curricular activities, including sports, that might incentivize struggling students to stay in school, and the instructional environment in courses that are not geared toward college-bound students. All of these factors are heavily influenced by district policies and practices. School curriculum and staffing do not operate in a vacuum. The district is heavily involved. So when we see a school like NHS that has a lower graduation rate than its peer schools, we should ask, “Why is it not serving its student community better? Why are so many students not meeting the most obvious goal of the whole experience, which is to graduate?”

      And the larger issue of course is, “Does anyone at MDUSD care enough about our community to be asking these questions too?”

  2. Cee,
    It all depends which schools are regarded as the outliers. It could be that College Park should be viewed as the benchmark for what MDUSD can accomplish and that NHS is under-performing for other reasons. But given that MDUSD schools, on average, under-perform their peer schools so often, it does not seem out of line to ask whether graduation rates are simply another instance of that.

    • Cee says:

      Thank you for the response. I guess I was referring to your comment that NHS students were underachieving, as opposed to a school being under performing. Considering the school’s socioeconomic status and the associated advantages that generally come with it compared to other schools in the district, what other reasons do you think the MDUSD is to blame for the under performing at Northgate? Are they factors that are curriculum and staff based?