Review of The High Cost of High School Dropouts in OhioReport as inadecuate

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Education and the Public Interest Center

A new report published by the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is a minor variant on six similar reports published by the Friedman Foundation over the past three years. The new report repeats some of the errors in the previous reports, and it follows a parallel structure, arguing that the costs of dropping out are dramatic for the state of Ohio, and that last-chance charter schools for dropouts can increase graduation and address the dropout problem. However, the report's claims about graduates for the 23 illustrative schools are inconsistent with the data reported by the state of Ohio for the year chosen, resulting in a dramatic overstatement of the graduation rates at the charters. The report also largely ignores the existing research literature on the personal and social benefits of educational attainment, the achievements of charter schools, and the factors associated with either completing or dropping out of high school. Further, the report fails to compare the alleged benefits of last-chance charter schools with plausible alternatives. State policymakers interested in increasing graduation would be better served by seeking out the available, well-researched scholarship on the topic. (Contains 12 notes.)

Descriptors: Charter Schools, Graduation Rate, Dropouts, Educational Attainment, Literature Reviews, Statistical Bias, Evidence, Inferences, Error of Measurement, Achievement Gains, Community Benefits, Educational Benefits, Research Reports, Educational Assessment, Educational Indicators, Cost Effectiveness, High Schools, Evaluation Methods, Research Methodology, Evaluation Problems, Research Problems, Outcomes of Education, Outcome Measures, Validity, Educational Policy, Educational Practices, Dropout Characteristics, Dropout Rate

Education and the Public Interest Center. School of Education, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309. Tel: 303-447-EPIC; Fax: 303-492-7090; e-mail: epic[at]; Web site:

Author: Dorn, Sherman


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