Graduating (and Not)

[Editor's Note:  God Bless, John Butcher.  As I read the story in this morning's Richmond Times-Dispatch, my first thought was: I wonder what John thinks about this.  And then, I checked my e-mail. Thank you kindly, Mr. Butcher ...  ~ CW]

By John R. Butcher

The RT-D this morning reports that Virginia’s on-time graduation rate of 90.5% “tops” the national average of 82%.

The RT-D is mixing apples and pomegranates.  They are comparing national cohort data for 2014 with Virginia “on-time” data from 2015.

The Virginia “on-time” rate is a fiction, generated by VDOE to inflate the actual rate.  The actual 4-year cohort Virginia rate in 2015 was 86.7%.
Even so, that’s Virginia.  This is Richmond.  The (awful) Richmond rate actually dropped this year.
The 2015 cohort also had 167 dropouts in Richmond, 11.8% of the cohort.  
The enrollment pattern by grade gives a more nuanced picture of the huge numbers of students Richmond loses to dropouts and from parents who move to the much better schools in the Counties.