I read a great little book in college called How to Lie With Statistics which explained how data could be manipulated and displayed in different ways to hide the bad news. Administrators of the New York City school system seem to be writing a sequel in their juggling of the numbers to determine the graduation rate in the city. Many NYC students who are in danger of not graduating are being "pushed out" or transfered to "alternative" programs where they don’t count on the bottom line.
The city data make it impossible to determine just how many students are being pushed out, where they are going and what becomes of them. But experts who have examined the statistics and administrators of high school equivalency programs say that the number of "pushouts" seems to be growing, with students shunted out at ever-younger ages.
So now we have one more way for school districts to show their success under No Child Left Behind. But didn’t the accountants at Enron, Tyco, MCI and other big corporations get into trouble for doing the same kind of juggling act?