Diane Denish’s bogus graduation “improvement”

During the recent gubernatorial debate, Diane Denish asserted that New Mexico’s graduation rates have improved by 6 percentage points from 2008 to 2009. The problem is that New Mexico doesn’t seem to know what the real statewide graduation rate is. You may remember back in 2009 when the state published the fact that 54% of New Mexico kids were graduating. After a public outcry, that number was quickly revised to 60%.

What is the real rate? Well, we have cited the national “Diplomas Count” study which in 2008 found that New Mexico kids were graduating at 54.1%. So, what does the 2010 version of this study have to say? According to the most recent “Diplomas Count,” New Mexico’s graduation rate is now 54.9%, a less than one-percent improvement (unfortunately, it now costs $4.95 to download New Mexico’s brief). Not exactly a stunning turnaround.

Certainly, the Richardson-Denish Administration has failed to turn around our schools during their 8 years. Isn’t it time we tried real school choice and Florida-style accountability?