More on the Dropout Issue

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Now the Feds want to look at graduation rates and make the issue of high school dropouts more of a focus as part of a possible No Child Left Behind-Leaves Many Children Behind reauthorization.

Take a gander at this article from the Associated Press.  According to the AP, U.S. House and Senate proposals to renew NCLB-LMCB would give high schools more federal money and put more pressure on them to improve…the current law imposes serious consequences on schools that report low scores on math and reading tests, such as having to replace teachers or principals, but it lacks the same kind of teeth when it comes to graduation rates, the AP says.

More from the article:

Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma. For Hispanic and black students, the proportion drops to about half.

The legislative proposals would:

• Make sure schools report their graduation rates by racial, ethnic and other subgroups and are judged on those. That’s to ensure schools aren’t just graduating white students in high numbers, but also are working to ensure minority students get diplomas.

• Get states to build data systems to keep track of students throughout their school years and more accurately measure graduation and dropout rates.

• Ensure states count graduation rates in a uniform way. States have used a variety of formulas, including counting the percentage of entering seniors who get a diploma. That measurement ignores the fact that kids who drop out typically do so before their senior year.

• Create strong progress goals for graduation rates and impose sanctions on schools that miss them. Most states currently lack meaningful goals, according to The Education Trust, a nonprofit that advocates for poor and minority children.

The current law requires testing in reading and math once in high school, and those tests take on added importance because of serious consequences for a school that fails. Critics say that creates a perverse incentive for schools to encourage kids to drop out before they bring down a school’s scores.

All of these posts are timely…this one, along with the “sudden” focus our school board wants to do as it relates to the dropout rates among students of color, and the report released last week in which dropouts in North Carolina cost the state nearly $170 million.

As a matter of fact, we just received a comment from our friend Stormy, who makes an excellent point:  students may leave school in May and just not return in August, and they aren’t included in the dropout rate.

Good point. Something to think about.

E.C. 🙂


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