The U.S. Department of Education Office of Inspector General’s Annual Plan for 2017 included notice of its intent to audit the accuracy of high school graduation rates in both California and Alabama.
According to the report, the audit is a continuation of the department’s efforts to determine whether selected state education agencies have implemented effective systems of internal control over their calculation and reporting of graduation rates that are sufficient enough to ensure that the graduation rates as reported are accurate and reliable.
The federal report stated, “We are continuing our work at the Alabama State Department of Education and the California State Department of Education.”
The California graduation rate has increased substantially in recent years. The graduating class of 2010 posted a graduation rate of 74.7 percent and by 2014, the state’s graduation rate had increased to a record high of 80.8 percent. This was followed by a new record of 82.3 percent set by the graduation class of 2015.
In May, California State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson explained how in 2015, the state legislature and the Governor suspended the outdated California High School Exit Examination as a graduation requirement. Torlakson expressed his belief this may have played a role in California’s increased graduation rate for 2015. However, he also pointed out that the graduation rate had increased every year since 2010. The state of Alabama also experienced a marked increase in its graduation rate as well as in recent years.
The Office Inspector General (OIG) reported it is auditing several state education agencies; however, it has not provided any information regarding why California and Alabama were singled out in its report or what the findings were to date. Purportedly, this non-disclosure is necessary to preserve the integrity of the audit.
The Voice/Black Voice News will continue to follow this story.