Making sense of homeschool and dropout figures

Indiana makes it nearly impossible for students under 18 to drop out of school but easy – extremely easy – for them to withdraw to be homeschooled.

That background could help make sense of the revelation that some high schools may be steering students from dropping out to homeschooling. Chalkbeat Indiana broke the story with an investigation that focused on CSUSA Emmerich Manual, an Indianapolis “turnaround academy.”

Manual reported that 60 students from its 2018 graduating cohort left to homeschool – nearly as many as the 83 students who graduated. Chalkbeat reporter Dylan Peers McCoy interviewed a mom who said she signed papers for her son to drop out, only to learn he had been reported as leaving to homeschool.

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Graduation rate is student success story

Forget, for a while, whatever bad news you’ve heard about education in Indiana. Let’s take a moment to celebrate what Hoosier students have accomplished. When it comes to staying in school and graduating, they’ve been doing about everything we could ask.

According to a recent report from the Indianapolis-based Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation:

  • Indiana had one of the highest high school graduation rates in the country in 2015, at 87.1 percent.
  • It had the narrowest “graduation gap” between low-income and non-low-income students of any state: 4.5 percentage points.
  • It ranked in the top five states for closing the gap between all students and low-income students between 2011 and 2015.
  • It had higher-than-average graduation rates for every subgroup of students except for Asian and Pacific Islander students.

“Indiana has much to be proud of,” the report says, referring to the record rates. “In addition, districts within the state are learning, innovating, and improving their abilities to serve their students and prepare them for the next steps in life. Indiana has taken concrete action over many years, following the evidence of what works to improve student outcomes and it has benefitted as a result.”

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