A Side Lesson of One in Five Boys Not Graduating on Time in Tiverton


That’s the central finding of a post of mine on Tiverton Fact Check:

Tiverton’s four-year graduation rate (that is, the percentage of students who graduate in the typical four years) was 85.5% in 2017, whereas the average suburban high school managed 90.8%. Tiverton was down from 89.1% the prior year.  Nearby Portsmouth and Middletown beat the 2017 suburban average by healthy margins, with 96.7% and 93.8%, respectively.

The picture becomes more bleak if we look just at a population that’s been struggling in recent years: boys.  In Tiverton, one in five high school boys (81.7%) did not graduate within four years.  For the average suburban school, it was closer to one in 10.  Portsmouth was second best in the state, with only about one in 35 boys failing to graduate on time.

And yet, I haven’t seen a single letter to the editor taking the school committee or administration to task for this.

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We have a curious political dynamic in town — one that’s probably the same pretty much throughout Rhode Island:  Work to give voters lower-tax options, and anything and everything can and will be said about you, often by parents who think they’re defending their children.  Preside over the lowest non-city four-year graduation rate in the state, and the silence probably means you’ll coast to reelection.

  • ShannonEntropy

    Could it be that Tiverton actually has educational standards that they adhere to and don’t just pass ‘n graduate every “student” who shows up often enough ??

    If you want everyone in a phys ed class to dunk a basketball simply lower the hoop to 4′. And if you want everyone to graduate from high school simply don’t require that they be able to do any math or read their own diploma

    • Justin Katz

      That is certainly a possibility, although I’m skeptical that it would give the town the worst non-city graduation rate in the state or account for the different results for boys and girls.

      But a prior point must be made: The way we get to that answer is for parents and the community to start forcing the people who run the system to express their explanations (or excuses, depending on your perspective). The current culture appears to be one of seizing upon the possibility of comforting explanations as a reason not to enter into uncomfortable arguments.