Tag: Liberty


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This is Dropout Nation: Liberty, New York


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One wouldn’t think this town, two hours north of New York City, would be swamped with a dropout crisis. As a district bordering between farming country and suburbia, just 32…

The Town & Country Building is tackily tasty. But the school district isn't. Courtesy of Agilitynut.com

The Town & Country Building is tackily tasty. But the school district isn't. (Courtesy of Agilitynut.com)

One wouldn’t think this town, two hours north of New York City, would be swamped with a dropout crisis. As a district bordering between farming country and suburbia, just 32 percent of the Liberty Central Schools District’s enrollment are Latino, black or Native American; the remaining 68 percent are white.

The district and its only high school, however, is as much a dropout factory as the collection of high schools that make up the far larger — and more diverse — Gotham system.

Fifty-six percent of the freshmen entering high school in the Liberty district actually graduated in four years, according to the New York State Education Department. Even worse, the problem isn’t simply among the few students with disabilities, whose graduation rate is an abysmal 21 percent. A mere 63 percent of Liberty’s freshmen in the general population garnered a sheepskin; two out of every five students either likely dropped out, failed to garner enough credits for graduation (which will likely lead them to leave without a diploma) or transferred to other school districts (from which they will likely drop out).

This isn’t a new trend. Just 56 percent of the 8th-graders who made up the district’s class of 2005 two years ago actually graduated in five years, according to an analysis of data submitted to the U.S. Department of Education; a mere 53 percent of the district’s freshmen walked away with a sheepskin in four years. This despite the fact that a not-so-great 74 percent of students were promoted from 8th-to-12th grade during that period.

What’s wrong with Liberty? The problems begin early. Just 13 percent of 4th graders scored in the Level 4 (r top percentile) range on the state’s standardized test, while 41 percent of Liberty’s 4th-graders had scores in the lowest levels of the test; the statewide average is, respectively, 21 percent and 41 percent. Twenty-one percent of Liberty’s 4th-graders scored in the lowest two levels of the math portion of the exam, higher than the 17 percent statewide average. Meanwhile, 64 percent of the district’s 8th-graders scored in the bottom two levels of the state’s English exam; only a merely attrocious 53 percent of the state’s 8th graders overall scored that low.

These are students woefully prepared to stay in school, much less graduate. Proving once again that the ills of dropout nation aren’t limited to the heart of Urban America.

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