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Don't use inconsequential data to measure academic success

Baltimore,MD--10/19/16-- A 10th grade Probability and Statistics class taught by math teacher, Troy Mabry at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.
Baltimore,MD--10/19/16-- A 10th grade Probability and Statistics class taught by math teacher, Troy Mabry at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute.(Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun)

Sun reporter Liz Bowie quoted state school board member David Steiner in “Maryland revises high school graduation requirements, delaying higher standards" (Oct. 27) as saying, “Politically it is not conceivable in any state that a high school graduation rate would go below 70 percent.” I was shocked and inspired by Mr. Steiner’s admission that the graduation rate represented the manipulations of education policy makers ahead of the efforts of teachers and students in the classroom.

With such honesty, we may start to recognize that the graduation rate is a largely inconsequential — easily manipulated — metric by which to gauge academic success. In its place, we should develop a system that prepares young people for the next chapter in their lives instead of one that celebrates a young person’s ability to endure.

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Adam Sutton, Cockeysville

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