Fresno Unified High School Dropouts

Fresno When it comes to the number of students actually getting diplomas in the Fresno Unified District, a non-profit educational group said the district is not making the grade. The national report card issued by America's Promise Alliance found that only 57 percent of Fresno Unified students graduated last year. But the School District says the rate is much, much higher at roughly 75 percent. "Unfortunately the issue with reports such as this is the information is not really accurate," said Fresno Unified's Peri Lynn Turnbull.

The district's Chief Information Office said there is no national standard for graduation rates and this report relied solely on enrollment numbers. "They don't, for example, take into account students who have moved out of the district, moved to another district and graduated. They don't take into account students who take longer to graduate."

The study also found that where you send your child to school can determine whether they graduate. According to the research, compared to urban districts, graduate rates were higher for students in surburban and rural areas. Visalia's graduation rate was not in the report. But the state numbers show it was 89 percent in 2006. Central Unified's Rate was lower at 80 percent, and Madera Unified estimates it's graduation rate was at least 75-percent. To address the issue, Madera Unified is trying a Freshman Academy. Madera's Information Officer, Jake Bragonier said: "It's a good idea since every student leaving 8th grade is not ready for high school yet." And Roosevelt High in Fresno is testing high tech career planning with students like Katherine Davis: "If they see what they want to do later in life than they migh keep their goals up high." For now the Federal Government says it's goal will be changing the way it collects graduation data.

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