“Idaho officials say alternative and virtual charter high schools are dragging down the state’s graduation rate. State Board of Education President Don Soltman told a legislative budget writing committee Monday that alternative schools have a 36 percent graduation rate. Meanwhile, virtual charter schools have a 20 percent graduation rate. Soltman says those low numbers are the main reason why Idaho’s overall high school graduation rate had recently plummeted from roughly 83 percent to 77 percent.” So began a report from the AP in the Idaho Statesman on Jan. 25 in reference to testimony given to a legislative committee.
If the reporting is accurate, President Soltman sorely needs to take a review course in logic. Alternative high schools, in particular, improve overall graduation rates at the margin. They graduate students who otherwise would not, or probably would not, graduate (certainly within the on time metric). Aggregating the separate rates of the various types of high schools to determine their effects on overall graduation rates is a logical fallacy. The SBOE needs to correct this misinformation.
Frank Hanson, Meridian
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