School officials have something of a stock answer when test scores or other metrics show a decline in some performance measure.
“It’s just one year’s data. We prefer to look at trends over time because we think that gives us a clearer picture of how we are progressing,” they say.
And, there’s merit in that. One class that does really poorly on, say, the SAT, shouldn’t necessarily overshadow years of steady increase. And, if one year of decline becomes two, then three, well, there’s clearly an issue that needs to be dealt with.
The same logic applies to the recently reported dropout rate at Garner High School, which leads the county and has dropped significantly in recent years.
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Now, the trick is to keep building on that positive momentum. We don’t want students quitting school no matter the circumstances and now that the numbers are lower, it’s something worth celebrating, even if in a cautious way.
We trust that administrators will continue to do those things that brought the dropout rates down and we hope they will work even harder to continue to lower the number of dropouts until that number reaches zero.
That’ll be a real reason to celebrate.