Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Garden State Pie (with a big problem)

In EdWeek's new Dropout Counts, New Jersey is projected to have the highest graduation rate of any state this year. I'm comfortable with the public graduates, but I think the nonpublic slice above simply will not do.

The 2008 Digest of Education Statistics has 2004-05 as its most recent year for private school graduations. It reports 12,810 private school graduates, and there must be home school graduates and at least a few private and home-schooled nongraduates beyond that.

Accordingly, I'll venture an informed guess: 15,700 nonpublic graduates and nongraduates. That's the Digest private school graduation number, increased one-sixth for home-school completions, plus nongraduates based on assuming a 95 percent nonpublic graduation rate. Here's how that bakes up:

Once again, my argument is that most graduation reports assume that an impossible number of young residents is missing from each state's public graduation total. By trying to fit public numbers, nonpublic estimates and total population figures into a single crust, I'm working to correct that.

P.S. My mouth now waters for coconut custard pie, one of the finest treats offered in the New Jersey diners of my youth. If anyone's spotted that option on a menu in the greater Bluegrass, please do let me know.

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