"The whole people must take upon themselves the education of the whole people and be willing to bear the expenses of it. There should not be a district of one mile square, without a school in it, not founded by a charitable individual, but maintained at the public expense of the people themselves." -- John Adams

"No money shall be drawn from the treasury, for the benefit of any religious or theological institution." -- Indiana Constitution Article 1, Section 6.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was and never will be...nor can they be safe with them without information. Where the press is free and every man able to read, all is safe." – Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, May 9, 2009

NYT - "Soaring dropout rate..."

Today's New York Times included an editorial about the dropout crisis in the US. We're "losing ground" to our competitors overseas, it said. The dropout crisis they said, will require "a lot more money and a national strategy."

The "scope" of the dropout crisis is "alarming," the numbers are "disconcerting." The dropout crisis "presents a clear danger to national prosperity." Read it for yourself, here...it's not long.

Meanwhile, in Florida, whose dropout rate, according to the Times, is one of the nation's highest at 20.1%, approximately 20,000 seniors won't graduate because they failed the state "graduation test." See "Schools Matter: Over 20,000 Florida Seniors Denied Diplomas By State Exit Exam Policy."

One of the things I've learned along the way is that when too many students fail a test (in this case 80% failed the Reading, 74% failed the Math), then the problem is not with the students...it's with the tests.

Doesn't anyone else notice a pattern here? I wonder if the high drop out rate has anything to do with the insane torture that passes for testing in the United States. How many kids are going to stay in school once they know that the odds are 4-1 that they won't "pass the test" and graduate?

Secretary of Education Duncan knows how to fix this...his answer to everything is Charter Schools - and it's generally for profit Charter Schools. It seems that we have to get our schools out from under the thumb of the nasty teachers' unions...that will solve all the problems.

I'm glad that Obama is going to nominate the next Supreme Court Justice candidate...I'm glad that Obama is mending fences with our neighbors on the planet...but at the Department of Education, it's business as usual...blame the teachers...blame the students...blame the educational system.

Statistics for 2006 show that nearly 1/5 of American children live in poverty. The current economic situation has likely raised that number. I wonder if anyone sees any relationship between the poverty rate and the dropout rate?

I wonder if the CEO's of the major test manufacturers (Pearson, McGraw-Hill, et al) are worried about where their next meal is coming from...

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