Stewart’s Blog: Hanna, LCS Will Not Answer Questions About Graduation Rates

Stewart’s Blog: Hanna, LCS Will Not Answer Questions About Graduation Rates

Recent TR stories about Leon County graduation rates has raised questions about the numbers behind the 2018-19 graduation rate of 92.5%.

Questions that Leon County Schools and Superintendent Rocky Hanna appear to have no interest in answering.

Here’s the story.

A data request by TR revealed a massive jump in students graduating in the years between 2015/16 to 2018/19 on an alternative path. The data shows the number of students that satisfied the graduation test requirement through alternative testing increased 291% from 129 in 2015/16 to 505 in 2018/19.

This means that the percentage of students that graduated from LCS through alternative testing has increased from 6.4% in 2015/16 to 21.8% in 2018/19.

The alternate path to graduation allows students to substitute alternative tests for the Florida Standard Assessment 10th grade English Language and the Algebra 1 end-of-course exam.

The problem is that several media reports indicate that education experts have deemed these alternative tests as flawed and say they do not meet federal education requirements.

Another problem is “credit recovery.”

In addition to passing standard tests, students must attain 24 credits in core classes. When students fail these classes, “credit recovery” options include mostly unmonitored and unproctored “virtual classes” that allow these students to earn the credits and meet graduation requirements.

However, a Slate article, “The New Diploma Mills,” describes how students enrolled in “credit recovery” classes simple googles questions for answers. Some experts have deemed these classes as mostly in-effective.

It is clear that the “alternative path”to graduation is ripe for review.

The Questions

Based on these findings, I asked to speak with someone at LCS to determine the specific parameters of those that took the alternative path to graduation.

First, I was referred to the Florida Department of Education, who then referred me back to LCS. Again, LCS referred me back to FDOE with this statement from LCS Communication Director, Chris Petley:

The graduation rate and requirements are set by the State. For any further questions I will direct you to their offices. We are in full compliance with their regulations and guidelines and are proud to have the 5th Highest Graduation Rate in the State. “

Last week, I forwarded this response to Superintendent Hanna and asked for help. No response.

I have now requested that LCS Board members get involved.

Simple questions like how many graduating students used credit recovery classes or why are more students failing or opting out of classroom tests should be easy to answer.

But LCS refuses.

I believe parents and taxpayers in Leon County have the right to know the details behind graduation rates that are used to champion the success of the Leon County School system.

20 Responses to "Stewart’s Blog: Hanna, LCS Will Not Answer Questions About Graduation Rates"

  1. Here is a good question for the district. They had students who couldn’t pass the FCAT test withdraw to private school. Then they paid their fees to enroll in out of state online classes. The students graduated. NOW, Lively will not allow them to enroll in classes without taking the Test of Adult Basic Education and making a minimum score. Lively will not honor the diploma the district paid for the students to earn. Just another Rocky way to get around true graduation rates. Students who have a diploma with classes paid for by Leon County Schools should not have to pay to take a basic test.

  2. Colleges and universities have been pulling the same scam for years. Those folks, and politicians, are destroying our educational system. Employers know this, and now require skills test or internships before they will hire the “college educated” goons and losers that people like Rocky Hana create through bogus testing and social promotions.

  3. The Rocky Hanna Horror Show continues. This clown ain’t got a clue about anything. Continues to mismanage and has one fiasco after another then throws people under the bus and uses them as scapegoats!

  4. Not unusual. Many schools and colleges will not release this data. The numbers are actually terrible. Try getting TCC to reveal it’s graduation rates. It’s absolutely horrifying. Yet they continue to collect silly awards from silly organizations that makes silly awards to silly people. The trustees fall over themselves to collect those awards, but dare ask them to talk about graduation rates and your life is in danger. Shameful.

  5. I’m not sure what data the LCS system is presenting or how they configure and collect it. What I can tell you is to pull the DOE data and you will see that 70% of the Black and Brown 10th graders in Rickards and in Godby fail the reading portion of the state test at the lowest stanine. At that level it’s not possible for them to move successfully thru computer driven lessons. Their comprehensive levels are just too low! This has been going on for over two decades. 20years…. if not longer. I don’t see how a regular diploma is possible for this group of students. And any alternative”diploma” is a Sham.

    When the Southside wanted more jobs, the industries said the education level was too low to support their businesses. The infant mortality rate is still high among black and brown neighborhoods. And the for profit prisons seems to be the end of the line for young Brown and Black men based on the prison data. So, All in all with the consistent miserable educational attainment and low competence levels over the course of at least two decades- but probably more like four decades- LCS is producing A Third World right in the middle of our city.

    A drastic intervention should take place and EVERY school subject must take a back seat to the traditional teaching of reading techniques. Such techniques involve actually teaching READING everyday ALL DAY UNTIL competence is GAINED FROM K-12! No worksheets no games no computers just small teacher led groups learning syllabication, Synonyms, verbals, sentence construction and actually reading slowly enough to check for comprehension.

    Now the other issue is it’s not statistically possible to have 70% of the Black and Brown students be retarded. And that’s what these scores indicate. However, because of the consistency of the percentage over the years, we may be looking at a public health crisis: lead poisoning.

    Rickards and Godby are the majority black/brown schools where these scores appear. It may be time to test the water for lead poisoning. The water in the neighborhoods where these kids live should be tested first to rule out lead. Then the schools water should be tested. Any other potential sources must also be tested.

    In a town with two universities, it’s a tragic set of political, historic and social racism that has allowed the illiteracy of the Black and Brown children to reach the levels of a third world country.

    1. And to take it a step further…this dramatic underachievement and illiteracy rate leads to the prison pipeline as noted. But before these children make it to prison they have to do something to get there. That is why Tallahassee has the highest crime rate in the state. LCS, and Rocky Hanna in particular, do not think of these children as people, potential contributors to society, and makes policy and other decisions that reflect that. The result? We all suffer. When you or one of your family members becomes a victim of senseless crime, the question will always be “why did it happen?”. The answer to the victims who face this reality is clear regardless of whether its being swept under the rug and candy coated by a PR firm. LCS’ policies are a major contributor to Tallahassee’s crime problem, not a mitigator. What happened to Cobi is the perfect example.

    1. DeeDee REFUSES to hold Hanna accountable for his hiring Assistant Superintendents without posting the jobs, she REFUSES to hold Rocky accountable for his notebook the he admitted was false costing taxpayers $600,000, she REFUSES to hold Rocky accountable for dating teachers on his faculty when he was Principal, DeeDee REFUSES to hold Rocky accountable for his hit list and on and on. Will this candidate take on the corruption that is Rocky Hanna?

  6. Accordingly, Superintendent Hanna is guilty of an appalling abuse of public trust. What he does on a daily basis is a flagrant assault on our family and student rights, hiding from child support for 10 years goes against common decency, and our fundamental values. Putting together a notebook that you admitted was filled with misinformation that you gathered and now your hit list is corrupting an election to keep oneself in office is perhaps the most abusive and destructive violation of one’s oath of office that is imaginable.

  7. Rocky Hanna you have no credibility. Chris Petley peddles Rocky Hanna’s misinformation, while the Hanna clan of political appointees known as Assistant Superintendents find ways to manipulate high school graduation rates. The school board is an embarrassment.

  8. Hanna thinks he does not have to follow any rules. His former High School Principals that now work at the County office are behind this scam. Also, Board Member Roseann Wood broke every rule she could while Principal at SAIL High School. Also, Shelly Bell, former Principal at Godby, now Director at Lively, started this “beat the system ” attitude. They advise Hanna. Time for the Dept. Of Education to investigate. Leon County Schools.

    1. Shelly Bell that put my son in AP US History so he would not have to take the state US History test? She used my son and others to inflate the school grade. They still doing it, Rickards joined them. Rocky Hanna promotes these people.

      People stop being fooled by the foolish Rocky Hanna. School board should be investigated. I told them what was happening at Godby they did not care, not one minute of caring because we are poor and minority!

  9. I recently heard if the evidence is such that a person will not attempt to explain the action, the inference is they have something to hide.

    Chris Petley boasts about the graduation rates but he refuses to explain the unexplainable.

    Rocky Hanna is at the helm of a system filled with shortcuts and manipulation of rules. He does not have the understanding of academics to circumvent the rules but he does know how to bend the rules. Recent examples include hiding from child support until sued and his well document admission of falsifying information in his notebook to dirty up the former superintendent. With graduation rates, turn your attention to the Assistant Superintendents over secondary schools and the one over Instruction.

    The silence of school board members is an admission they are either incompetent or agree with the stonewalling of information.

  10. What another Mess! Playing the numbers game to secure RE-ELECTION! Reckless and desperate! Anybody except Rocky Horror,!

  11. Anyone that endorses Rocky Hanna endorses the manipulation of data along with a lack of transparency.

    Rocky Hanna and his leadership team should be fired by the citizens of Leon County. The school board sits in silence.

    No other Superintendent in Florida would sit silent refusing to answer questions about graduation rates. Rocky Hanna is not fit to be Superintendent. The fact that school board members that sit in silence is the reason the legislature is working on mandatory term limits for school board members.

    Rocky, you openly and theatrically cried about the busing debacle you caused, now silence on graduation rates. I think we all see through your act, too bad the school board members do not see through the charade that is Rocky Hanna.

  12. LEON COUNTY VOTERS we have a new choice to represent our educational concerns at the school board level. Alex Stemle for School Board District 4. I know him personally and understand his commitment to the schools in Leon County. I am looking forward to someone with fresh ideas and the ability to represent us with a VOTE on all issues (no conflicts). Wake up voters!

  13. Doesn’t any of this sound Familiar? Think way back, FAMU. One Year FAMU Lowest Number of Graduates of ALL the HBC’s then the next Year, they had one of the HIGHEST Number of Graduates of all the HBC’s……………… The Democrat did an Article on it at the time……… at the end of the Article it said how it was possible. FAMU lowered the Grade Curve. This was about 15 or so Years ago.

  14. G.P.A… nothing else should be required to graduate from high school. Senior placement test to determine if you can attend a 4 year school or Community college.

    1. They won’t explain why they cancel classes every time the weather service INCORRECTLY predicts a bad storm either.
      When I was a kid we went to skrewel – walked through blizzards, and rain squalls if we had to. Kids these days are so weak – just like the administrators.

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