The grad-rate spin evolves

From the time the General Assembly changed hands from Democrat to Republican in January 2011, the state’s education establishment has spun a host of tales of woe and cruelty about how “miserly” GOP school budgets would devastate classroom learning. Today, the Department of Public Instruction announced the state’s four-year high school graduation rate reached 82.5 percent, a 2.1 percentage point increase from last year, and a record over the period the state has kept these statistics.


Had the rate announced today stabilized or even fallen, you can bet the educrats would have blamed budget cuts from the heartless Republicans …

For your entertainment, read the evolution of Democratic Superintendent June Atkinson’s spin, as follows:

Atkinson’s 2011 Statement on Education Subcommittee Budget: “This budget positions North Carolina schools to operate in only the most limited fashion. Taken together, all of these cuts would severely limit what local schools will be able to offer to students and will jeopardize more than 25 years of progress in our state.”

Atkinson’s 2012 Statement on Gov. Bev Perdue’s Budget Veto: “Come this August, almost 1.5 million students will enter North Carolina public schools, an increase of nearly 12,000 students from last year. The budget the Governor vetoed needs to include more resources for principals, teachers and other support staff to meet the needs of these students. If we are going to increase our graduation rate from its current all-time high and prepare all students for college and a career, the budget for public education must be stronger.”

TODAY’S (8/8/13) DPI press release on graduation rate: “North Carolina’s four-year cohort graduation rate continued its upward climb and set another record, according to the state’s 2012-13 Cohort Graduation Rate Report, presented to State Board of Education members today. In 2013, 82.5 percent of students who started ninth grade in 2009-10 completed high school in four years or less. This is up from the 2012 rate of 80.4 percent.”


“Since 2006, the first year the state reported a four-year cohort graduation rate, the percentage of students graduating from high school in four years or less has risen 14 percentage points – from 68.3 percent to 82.5 percent.”

Written by

Rick Henderson

Rick Henderson became managing editor of Carolina Journal in April 2009. Before that, he had worked more than a decade for newspapers in Denver, Colo., Las Vegas, Nev., and Southern California as an editorial writer and editor, columnist, and business reporter. Prior to that, he was at Reason magazine for nine years, splitting time between Southern California as a reporter and managing editor and Washington, D.C., where from 1992-96 he was Reason's first full-time Washington editor. He graduated in 1979 from UNC-Chapel Hill with a B.A. in political science. Rick lives in Raleigh with his wife and their menagerie of pets.

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