Thursday, June 18, 2020

Graduation Rates Are Bogus

State Auditor Shad White issued the following statement. 
The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) failed to maintain an Office of Dropout Prevention (ODP) for the last 10 years as required by state law. Additionally, lawmakers told MDE to increase the graduation rate from 61% in 2006 to 85% by 2019, and MDE met this goal in part by changing how it calculates the graduation rate. State Auditor Shad White announced these findings and more in a performance audit released today.

“MDE has a responsibility to follow the law, just like I do in my position and Mississippians do in their everyday lives,” said Auditor White. “The law says that there should have been an Office of Dropout Prevention performing certain functions to help districts increase the graduation rate. That office was not functioning and not performing its duties under the law.”

In 2006, the Mississippi Legislature voted to create an Office of Dropout Prevention at MDE. The Office of Dropout Prevention created the Statewide Dropout Prevention Plan to meet its obligations under state law. Auditors determined MDE has not employed an ODP director as required by law since 2009. Further, the MDE employees listed as being responsible for statewide dropout prevention were not aware a Statewide Dropout Prevention Plan existed.

The Plan also established benchmarks as a guide for reaching the legislative goal of an 85% statewide high school graduation rate. However, after those benchmarks were established, MDE changed the way graduation rates are calculated by no longer counting “repeaters,” or students who needed to repeat 12th grade. The change was also made without requesting an updated graduation rate goal from the Legislature. This change increased the MDE-published graduation rates by nearly 10% and misaligned MDE benchmarks with legislative intent.

“Mississippi’s teachers, parents, and administrators have worked together to improve our graduation rate over the past few years, and that’s a commendable, important achievement,” said Auditor White. “But some of that improvement in the graduation rate, is just due to a change in the way MDE calculated the graduation rate. You have to be honest about it.”

Auditors also found MDE has not conducted an annual evaluation of local dropout prevention plans as required by law since 2014. Additionally, 73% of district-level dropout prevention plans failed to meet requirements set by MDE, and approximately half of these programs statewide are not monitored by MDE. Auditors also found only 29% of these programs are based on evidence despite MDE’s stated commitment to sponsoring evidence-based programs.

The report recommends MDE reestablish the Office of Dropout Prevention and update benchmarks set in the Statewide Dropout Prevention Plan to account for changes in how graduation rates are calculated. The report also suggests the Legislature consider taking action to ensure the Office of Dropout Prevention is operational and submits regular legislative updates.

“As a product of our public schools and the son and grandson of Mississippi public school teachers, I’m proud to see our state has made progress toward a higher graduation rate. We still have more work to do, of course, and with a reestablished ODP and clarity on how graduation rates are calculated, MDE can make additional steps toward that goal,” said White.

The performance audit report can be found online by searching under the “Reports” tab at


Anonymous said...

Shad rocks, and Carey Wright's office needs to be a cell at Parchman. She's just as bad if not worse than Nancy New and her BS scam. Screwing over children and poor people both should result in long prison sentences and restitution.

Anonymous said...

I'm no auditor of legal expert, but even I know the difference between 'shall' and 'should'. He obviously is not quoting a law.

According to Shadrack: “The law says that there should have been an Office of Dropout Prevention..."

Anonymous said...

Grow up Shad...An audit 'report of findings' is not the place to tell us what your parents and grandparents did for a living. Personal, parenthetical remarks should be reserved for your Facebook page.

Anonymous said...

Cue the butthurt democrat deep state Depot of Edumacation employees to throw shade on Shad.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately nobody in DC wants Shad either. Looks like we are stuck with his howdy doody ass for a while.

PittPanther said...

Does anyone in this God-forsaken state just Do the Right Thing?

Republicans running things from top to bottom and left to right, there's no one to blame but themselves.

Anonymous said...


You admit you're no legal expert, but you don't have to make a fool of yourself, too. Go read the law.

Put up, shut up, or run for office.

Anonymous said...

But where oh where did the money go?

Anonymous said...

And some have said our Education leaders aren’t smart. I guess they (education leaders) showed them.

Anonymous said...

I dropped out. Public education in Mississippi is a complete joke and full of moronic thugs and violent bullies. High school is also dangerous depending on the school district. I got my GED and went to Community College and then on to University. After you have a degree it doesn't matter if you got your GED.

Anonymous said...

This is a good audit. It points back to leadership. Governor Bryant failed in his leadership to get state government to fulfill its mission. And the victims were the children.

Anonymous said...

This is great Shadrach. But, just as auditors always tend to do while they look back on other people's work and criticize - you and your staff have tended to taint these findings with opinions.

1) The statute says that there shall be an ODP, but does the statute and all those since not account for the concept that there might be a reorganization, or a restructuring of a Department? If in 2006 the legislature (probably in consultation with MDE at the time) wrote this statute with its specifics. Can MDE not make any changes in its internal structure, title of positions, or organization charts as relates to this one particular office without drawing the ire of our new Czar?

As is pointed out in the audit, the ODP was created, but there was not one but two agency reorganizations since then. But what is not addressed in the audit is whether those in the Legislature that appropriate funds for MDE knew about these reorganizations, renamings, etc and accepted the process.

2) The recalculation of the dropout rate that followed the passage of this act - was this recalculation considered by the legislature when they drafted the law some 14 years ago? Appears to be the fact that part of the focus on the dropout rate included how it was calculated.

Granted, it makes for good headlines coming out of the Auditor (which seems to be important these days) to be able to say that nobody has paid any attention to this statute since its enactment in 2006.

But the legislative appropriations process seems to show that they were well aware of the reorganization, the staffing charts and even the calculation method.

If that's the case, then there was no harm, no foul in MDE's operation.

Considering all the other crap that comes out of Central High, if this is the best your auditors can do, maybe its your office that needs a reorganization.

Anonymous said...

Is there anything in Mississippi that works? Education, Unemployment, Health Department today still at 4 p.m. is blaming "data processing" as the reason they can't update the virus statistics, Mississippi Development Authority. That is a total disaster. MDOT crying they can't fix the roads, but maintenance operates on a four day week. Phil Bryant was a disaster and the Republican Legislature shoulders the blame. By the way, I haven't voted Democrat since the old Mississippi Democratic Party decades ago. But this disaster needs correcting.

Anonymous said...

Shad is goring some sacred cows ------ LOVE IT!

Anonymous said...

Going after sacred cows is great. Someone please tell Shad that driving on Highway 49 in Richland and Florence sucks.

Anonymous said...

"You admit you're no legal expert, but you don't have to make a fool of yourself, too. Go read the law.Put up, shut up, or run for office."

I DID put up. I quoted the auditor's report of findings. He's the one who used the word 'should'. Should does not equate to shall. I don't need to go read a law to know that. Even his parents and grandparents *should* recognize the difference.

Anonymous said...

His report doesn't even mention the wrongful "promotions" between grades, and how thousands (over30%) are lawfully absent (truant) every semester, and should not have passed onto the next grade, much less ever graduated. The whole scam is about creating the appearance of Satisfactory Academic Progress or SAP as it's called....and yes, is required by federal law Ms. Wright....but you and the MDE laugh at that every day. Attendance/absences are swept under the rug to keep the dollars flowing.....billions wasted. Oh, and don't even start on "higher education" for the last ten years. Most of college course today are being taught as "dual credit" in the high schools, so those credits (and thus, those degrees - are also bogus).

Anonymous said...

Our education system is a disaster. It worked better decades ago with far fewer bureaucrats and less money. Lots of blame to go around. The federal intervention, too many bureaucrats, too many local administrators, parents who don’t care, too much emphasis on athletics and not enough on academics, low standards etc etc.

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