Dallas Dropout Factories &
The Southside Dropout Myth, Part I & Part II

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In 2007 the term "Dropout Factory" was given by John Hopkins University to every one of the 21 non-magnet high schools in Dallas ISD. These schools were included on a list of 1700 U S "Dropout Factory" high schools.  This same John Hopkins University study provided data from 2004-2006 that clearly showed that the average dropout rates in Dallas during these three years were equally bad on all sides of Dallas. Those tabulations are below.

The promotion rate data for each area of Dallas has changed dramatically since this average 2004-2006 tabulation! The 2009 enrollment data clearly shows that the 9 high schools in Oak Cliff have a 9th to 12th grade promotion rate that is now over 11 percentage points higher than the same rate for the 6 North Dallas high Schools. See the details of this May 2009 study, as well as the solid progress all of Dallas ISD is making, at www.studentmotivation.org/dallasisd.

The following study was done in 2008 using 2004-2006 data.


This listing of Dallas ISD schools is from the list of 1700 U S high schools designated as “dropout factories” by the John Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools.
Every non-magnet Dallas ISD high school that had graduation classes during the three years under study made the list. That includes all 21 high schools!

A "dropout factory" is a school with a three year average promoting power ratio of 60% or less for the three classes of 2004, 2005 and 2006. Promoting Power compares the number of seniors (12th-graders) in a high school to the number of freshmen (9th-graders) three years earlier. These enrollment numbers are taken from the U.S. Department of Education’s Common Core of Data and reported by school districts every fall. Promoting Power essentially tells us the extent to which students in a high school succeed in making it from 9th to 12th grade. It does not say how many actually received a diploma.

School Average Promoting Power Ratio (Class of 2004, 2005 and 2006) Class of 2006 Promoting Power Ratio Class of 2005 Promoting Power Ratio Class of 2004 Promoting Power Ratio Beginning Enrollment for the Class of 2006 Total 12th Grade Students for the Class of 2006 Total Calculated Enrollment 2005-06 Percent of Students who were Minorities 2005-06
A MACEO SMITH H S 0.45 0.58 0.39 0.39 343 198 1145 99%
BRYAN ADAMS H S 0.45 0.44 0.45 0.47 1016 449 2391 88%
W H ADAMSON H S 0.44 0.39 0.45 0.48 525 204 1233 99%
DAVID W CARTER H S 0.54 0.57 0.51 0.55 674 383 1872 100%
HILLCREST H S 0.46 0.39 0.53 0.47 731 282 1697 85%
THOMAS JEFFERSON H S 0.40 0.38 0.38 0.43 773 294 1658 99%
JUSTIN F. KIMBALL H S 0.43 0.42 0.46 0.43 668 278 1638 99%
LINCOLN H S 0.60 0.59 0.62 0.58 409 243 1245 100%
JAMES MADISON H S 0.36 0.42 0.33 0.33 282 119 602 100%
NORTH DALLAS H S 0.41 0.37 0.41 0.44 781 290 1715 98%
L G PINKSTON H S 0.40 0.46 0.38 0.35 369 168 1153 99%
ROOSEVELT H S 0.41 0.41 0.40 0.42 320 132 931 99%
SEAGOVILLE H S 0.42 0.43 0.41 0.42 505 216 1155 63%
SKYLINE H S 0.60 0.60 0.61 0.58 1446 871 4596 98%
SOUTH OAK CLIFF H S 0.45 0.60 0.38 0.37 570 343 1533 100%
H GRADY SPRUCE 0.35 0.34 0.34 0.37 729 250 1516 97%
SUNSET H S 0.43 0.39 0.44 0.46 894 346 2111 98%
W W SAMUEL H S 0.34 0.27 0.33 0.41 996 270 1880 98%
W T WHITE H S 0.51 0.51 0.50 0.52 797 406 2253 85%
WOODROW WILSON H S 0.53 0.53 0.54 0.53 530 279 1456 81%
MOISES MOLINA H S 0.50 0.50 0.47 0.53 1024 517 2417 98%
Avg. promotion power ratio = 0.45   Totals = 14382 6538 36197


The Southside Dallas Dropout Myth - Part I
2004-2006: The truth is that the three areas of DISD had equal dropout rates that began to spread apart by 2006.


One of the most common Dallas urban myths is that the school dropout rate is higher on the south side of Dallas than it is on the north side.  In December of 2007 a major Dallas media outlet even printed in an editorial: "The dropout problem is real, particularly on the streets of southern Dallas." When confronted with the following documentation, drawn from the John Hopkins University study, that media outlet refused to make a correction, or even a clarification as to what they may have meant. They allowed a destructive urban myth regarding the south side of Dallas to continue.

The first report was done in 2008.  The data for Dallas ISD from the above "Dropout Factory" list was separated into three separate sections of Dallas. The high schools were sorted by the section of Dallas they are located in. 

The chart below has a new column on the left designating the area of the city where they are located.  All high schools north of the Trinity River and I-30 were given an N for the area generally called North Dallas.  All high schools south of the Trinity River were given OC for the area generally called Oak Cliff.  All high schools both South of I-30 and east of the Trinity River were given the code SE for the South East area of Dallas, generally the area anchored by Pleasant Grove.  With these divisions used the map to the right is the result. The chart below shows where each school from the above "Dropout factory" list is located.

There is less than a one half of one percent difference between any of these three sections of Dallas for the average promotion ratio for the three years studied in the John Hopkins University study. With the class of '06 the promotion power ratio south of the Trinity was actually 2 percentage points better than all high schools in North Dallas. However, this is a very small difference. When averaged over three years, 2004-2006, it did not survive.

Area of Dallas High School located   School Average Promoting Power Ratio (Class of 2004, 2005 and 2006) Class of 2006 Promoting Power Ratio Class of 2005 Promoting Power Ratio Class of 2004 Promoting Power Ratio Beginning Enrollment for the Class of 2006 Total 12th Grade Students for the Class of 2006 Total Calculated Enrollment 2005-06 Percent of Students who were Minorities 2005-06
N   W T WHITE H S 0.51 0.51 0.50 0.52 797 406 2253 85%
N   THOMAS JEFFERSON H S 0.40 0.38 0.38 0.43 773 294 1658 99%
N   HILLCREST H S 0.46 0.39 0.53 0.47 731 282 1697 85%
N   NORTH DALLAS H S 0.41 0.37 0.41 0.44 781 290 1715 98%
N   BRYAN ADAMS H S 0.45 0.44 0.45 0.47 1016 449 2391 88%
N   WOODROW WILSON H S 0.53 0.53 0.54 0.53 530 279 1456 81%
OC   DAVID W CARTER H S 0.54 0.57 0.51 0.55 674 383 1872 100%
OC   W H ADAMSON H S 0.44 0.39 0.45 0.48 525 204 1233 99%
OC   MOISES MOLINA H S 0.50 0.50 0.47 0.53 1024 517 2417 98%
OC   ROOSEVELT H S 0.41 0.41 0.40 0.42 320 132 931 99%
OC   L G PINKSTON H S 0.40 0.46 0.38 0.35 369 168 1153 99%
OC   F. KIMBALL H S JUSTIN 0.43 0.42 0.46 0.43 668 278 1638 99%
OC   SOUTH OAK CLIFF H S 0.45 0.60 0.38 0.37 570 343 1533 100%
OC   SUNSET H S 0.43 0.39 0.44 0.46 894 346 2111 98%
OC   A MACEO SMITH H S 0.45 0.58 0.39 0.39 343 198 1145 99%
SE   SEAGOVILLE H S 0.42 0.43 0.41 0.42 505 216 1155 63%
SE   JAMES MADISON H S 0.36 0.42 0.33 0.33 282 119 602 100%
SE   SKYLINE H S 0.60 0.60 0.61 0.58 1446 871 4596 98%
SE   LINCOLN H S 0.60 0.59 0.62 0.58 409 243 1245 100%
SE   W W SAMUEL H S 0.34 0.27 0.33 0.41 996 270 1880 98%
SE   H GRADY SPRUCE 0.35 0.34 0.34 0.37 729 250 1516 97%
  Average promotion power ratio = 0.451  

2006

 

2005

Totals =

2004

14382

9th

6538

12th

36197

total

 
Promotion ratio North of Trinity & I-30 = 0.450 0.448 0.450 0.455 696 299 1677 0.917
Promotion ratio South of Trinity (OC) = 0.450 0.468 0.436 0.449 631 296 1611 0.990
Promotion ratio South of I-30/East of Trinity = 0.445 0.442 0.440 0.448 728 328 1832 0.927
The above separations indicate the high schools in these three areas of Dallas have virtually equal percentages of 9th grade students not making it to senior year with their class.

The promotion ratio is the percentage of 9th graders who are in the 12th grade within 4 years with their classmates. Of these seniors, 96.2% have received a diploma within Dallas ISD since 1997. This is taken from the 11 year enrollment history for Dallas ISD. Subtracting the 56% of 9th graders who have not gotten a diploma with their class leaves 44% of 9th graders getting diplomas with their cohort on average during the past 7 years. Some students among this 56% may have graduated later, or gotten a GED. Thus 56% is not a strict dropout rate.

 


The Southside Dallas Dropout Myth - Part II
2007-2009: the three sections of DISD grew apart.  The dropout rates for the 9 Oak Cliff High Schools continued going down while the dropout rates for the 6 North Dallas High Schools went still higher.  By 2009 Oak Cliff had a dropout rate that was 11 percentage points lower than North Dallas.


The second report was started in 2009 and resulted in a large report that can be found at http://www.studentmotivation.org/dallasisd/.

It resulted in the creation of enrollment spreadsheets covering 12 years of enrollment history for the 21 Dallas high schools listed in the "Dropout Factory List" above. These spreadsheets calculated the 9th to 12th grade promotion rate for each of these high schools going back a decade. It produced the following spreadsheet.

The above chart was generated from this data:

The 9th to 12th grade promotion rate from one enrollment spreadsheet made for each area of Dallas ISD 1999- 2000 2000- 2001 2001- 2002 2002- 2003 2003- 2004 2004- 2005 2005- 2006 2006- 2007 2007- 2008 2008- 2009 Average 1997-1998 to 2008-2009
For the 6 North Dallas high schools 38.3% 39.3% 44.7% 44.3% 47.7% 46.2% 43.2% 43.0% 39.9% 39.6% 42.6%
For the 6 Southeast Dallas high schools 43.3% 41.6% 43.2% 45.3% 47.6% 46.7% 45.1% 48.3% 50.5% 44.9% 45.7%
For the 9 Oak Cliff high schools 41.2% 37.6% 38.9% 41.6% 45.8% 44.0% 47.7% 48.0% 50.0% 51.3% 44.6%

The above chart indicates that from 2004 to 2006, that while the average promotion rates were actually equal, those three years ended with North Dallas having dropped 4.5 percentage points and Southeast Dallas having dropped 2.5 percentage points while Oak Cliff gained 1.9 percentage points. This pattern continued for North Dallas and Oak Cliff.  By 2009 the promotion rate for North Dallas was 11.7 percentage points lower than Oak Cliff.

See www.studentmotivation.org/dallasisd/ for the complete report on the above data. 


While the above report focuses on Dallas, a majority of high schools within Fort Worth ISD (7 out of 13) were also on the "dropout factory" list,  (pages 25-29) along with over 12 other "dropout factory" high schools in suburbs that make up the DFW Metroplex.  Our schools and students need much more attention. How can we continue to ignore students who are not graduating?

If it was mandatory for every school to have a 10-year, or more, enrollment by grade spreadsheet on their web site, with the number of diplomas given at the end of each year, the ability to hide dropout numbers would be eliminated. Such public documentation of student movement would be a first step in documenting the extent of the dropout crisis we and our children face.  Then we may move closer to finding motivation to provide our students the educational services they need, and have a right to.


Let's work to graduate 50% of all 9th graders on time!
Achieving this 50% goal will add over 900 more students
 to each Dallas ISD graduating class*!

Due to the progress demonstrated by the increase in 10th grade student numbers at the two high schools attended by Archive Project students, it appears that goal will be achieved at these two formerly highest dropout rate high schools in Dallas ISD when this 10th grade class graduates in 2010, and definitely by 2011! (See the bar graph to the left.)

More schools need to start School Archive Projects to help students focus on their own futures.

*compared to the average Dallas ISD graduation class size 1998-2008, during which decade the highest graduation rate achieved was 48.6%.


Bill Betzen, LMSW (Emeritus)
Updated 07/11/2009
bbetzen@aol.com

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