Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Numbers That Aren't (and Aren't Reported)

MIAMI (AP) -- A woman whose husband has kept about $600,000 in lottery winnings from her says she has a number for him: Half.
Um. "Half" isn't a number.

And a less obvious item, mainly because it's still a deep, dark secret around Our Town:

The Orlando Sentinel has posted a user friendly Florida high-school graduation-rate search page, part of its larger data-on-the-Web effort. I went there to learn DeSoto High School's graduation rate for the class of 2006 is 69.7 percent.

Cheers to DHS for keeping its proportion of graduating students moving in the right direction -- although it remains below the statewide average and dismal compared to neighboring districts.

And raspberries to the local newspaper's "education reporter" who has not bothered to inform the people who pay for schools -- most of them newspaper readers -- of this news. And no, a press release from Sara Spas, the district's very nice spokesperson, won't make OWW the least bit happy.

Let's practice some genuine journalism on this important topic. In case the assignment editor is unsure how to make these numbers come alive, the tie-in is our local school district's recently announced plan to move toward SACS accreditation. The plan has drawn both smiles and frowns, depending who perceives their workload increasing as part of an "unfunded mandate."

Go get that story.