Jun 21, 2008

focus on dropouts

Didn't want this to pass by without comment: News Tribune columnist Peter Callaghan runs down the numbers, and they ain't pretty.
The state of Washington reports a graduation rate of just under 80 percent (the most recent numbers are for the Class of 2005). But a recent report by the Education Research Center tells a less encouraging story. Again, based on the Class of 2005, the center estimated that Washington graduated just 68.8 percent of the students who entered high school four years earlier.

That’s a tick below the national average of 70.6 percent. Black students graduated at just 51.8 percent, Hispanics at 56.9 percent and American Indians at 42.7 percent.

The report went on to project that the Class of 2008 lost 28,000 students – 39 each school day for four years. None is factored in when the state estimates WASL success rates.
Callaghan's advice: get the WASL extremists, both pro- and con-, out of the room, and let moderation and reason reign. The State Board of Education's "Core 24" approach seems to be a step in this direction, focusing on credits and flexibility, not just on assessment.

Dropping out sucks, not just for students, but for society. We have to do better to keep students on track.

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