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So Stupid? American Graduation Rate Only 70%?!

Federal reporting of high-school graduation rates hide an embarrassing and depressing reality of the American education system. Only 70 percent of those who start ninth grade finish four years later.

Many states keep two statistics on hand. Mississippi for example, reports an 83 percent graduation rate to the federal government. The statistic used in the state, however, is 63 percent. California is another example. It reports 83 percent, but operates at home with a rate of 67 percent.

The New York Times explains that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) policy has something to do with the high reporting and low completion rate. NCLB requires students to meet high standards on proficiency tests, but sets no national requirement for graduation rates. Schools actually have an incentive to persuade failing students to drop out, as the schools' averages on tests will then increase.

Are you surprised that the national graduation rate is only 70 percent? Should US states be focusing on making sure more students graduate, or rather concentrate on helping the proficient students make greater strides?

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Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
Cine, I also think that the federal government should not be involved in education, but I feel even more strongly that the states and local districts need the watchdogging! Regarding inadequate instructional materials: google the “Williams vs. California” case. There’s a description here: www.cde.ca.gov/eo/ce/wc/wmslawsuit.asp Your local PTA may want to point it out to school officials, maybe a similar action is in order. As for funding athletics, the excuse I hear is that “it keeps kids in school who might otherwise drop out.” Lame! Cabaker: IMO the Asian academic success is cultural more than a difference in methods. Asian kids in US schools generally do better than average, too. Also, I’m sick to death of the parents being blamed for the schools’ failures. My kids have had undisciplined classrooms, inadequate instruction, poorly designed school schedules. They’ve been told “facts” that are flat-out wrong. My son, in particular, has been subtly demeaned—not in a way you can clearly identify and quantify, of course—for his opinions and viewpoints. (His English teacher is a super liberal, he’s a Boy Scout / NJROTC kid.) Fortunately, even at 15, he can see it for what it is and it doesn’t bother him. And it’s *not* about money! It’s about the effective use of resources. I work for a public education entity—not a school district. My division is primarily composed of educators, with some business-type folks (like me) as support. I had a conversation with my supervisor (another business type) and we agreed that every superintendent should have an assistant superintendent with a business background.
Cassandra57 Cassandra57 8 years
I am tired of so many people blaming NCLB for our education problems. I won’t say it’s perfect, but it was passed because the schools were not doing their job. It’s an imperfect solution to a problem that should not have occurred. It doesn’t force anyone to “teach to the test.” The tests cover what the students should be learning, anyway. That does not mean schools aren’t permitted to teach above and beyond the minimum standards. Also, I’m sick to death of school administrators gaming the statistics. They do this at every available opportunity. They do it with test scores, attendance, dropout rates, crime reports. The graduation rate is only half of it. I’m sure that a significant percentage—double-digit, at least—of the students who graduate has minimal skills. The exit exam in California is first administered in tenth grade, and is at approximately a seventh grade difficulty level. (No citation for that, I’m sure it’s not meant for general publication.) Also, we’ve had a large influx of immigrants, many of lower socio-economic status. We should consider that their culture may value work or vocational ed over traditional academics. One of the first things that should be done is standardize the statistical methods, and apply them consistently at all levels.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 8 years
Sorry if all of that seemed a bit scattered or didn't make sense, but I've got a house to clean! :SPEEDY:
JovianSkies JovianSkies 8 years
Sorry if all of that seemed a bit scattered or didn't make sense, but I've got a house to clean! :SPEEDY:
JovianSkies JovianSkies 8 years
I'm not at all surprised at the dismal number of students dropping out. As a child of two teachers, and having been through various scholastic programs (both the helpful and hindering) throughout middle and high school, I can attest that the system has some serious flaws, including that "Schools actually have an incentive to persuade failing students to drop out". To begin with, in comparison with other nations, our requirements are a joke. Literally. My father was giving a lecture, where several Japanese exchange students were present, and as soon as he began to speak, he said you could hear their voice recorders taping. After class, he had a conversation with them, and asked if they were having any trouble in their classes here. They LAUGHED, and said, "Oh no, they are SO easy!" then turned serious and continued, "but your teachers are some of the best in the world". My father explained that this was because in Japan, the students' scholastic achievement lay solely on the individual, and they very rarely recieve help from their instructors. Both of my parents have encountered exchange students from other nations, and witnessed their ease in sucess in schools, all because their quality of education was superior, such as in nyradzoms' case. In consideration of teachers having incentive to encourage the failing students to drop out, it depends on the instructor. I've had those who promote pushing yourself to achieve, and I've had those who push to get you out of their class. When I transferred schools, I was placed into an honors class that moved at a much harder, and faster pace than the previous honors I was in, and my grades suffered for about a month as I adjusted. My grades before had always been impeccable, therefore my failures had made me competetive to prove that I belonged there. Imagine how I felt when my teacher kept trying to dissuade me from staying there, and place me in a "less challenging" class! I refused, and very soon after was back in grades I could be proud of. It's been my personal experience over all, that if you have any lapse in grade, your instructor WILL try to get you out of their class, almost every time. There have also been teachers who I can't imagine having made it through school without their guidance. I too, was one of those students in middle and high school who had other, far more life-altering problems that made school irrevelent and pointless, and without those teachers' help, I never, ever would have made it. I will always be thankful to them. Teachers aside, there are still major flaws in the public school system, and since I have errands and a house that needs to be cleaned, I'll just have to give one short(er) example. When my grades were in jeapordy for prolonged periods of time because of my clinical depression, I was placed in a IEP program, where I was basically followed around by a 'special instructor' to help me in my classes. IEP is a program for students with 'disabilities' and need 'special attention'. I was to be hawked over, because I was so far into depression, I couldn't even think about school (hence my credibility of having a 'special need'). Though I realized that they were only trying to do their jobs, and seemed to sincerely care about me, being in this program was more detremental to my grades, and personally embaressing. Your IEP assures you that they not only help you, but others in the classroom, so they'll be very discreet. This is not the case (unless there's another student in the program in that same class) and I felt humiliated, and further estranged. Two years and intensive counselling/nearly killing myself to ameliorate my grades later, I was finally out of the program, and glad of it. I couldn't ever say that being in IEP was ever beneficial, and believe it's a waste of tax money. These are only some of the examples of issues I have with the school system in America, and how I can certainly see why there's a higher drop-out rate. There needs to be a resolution within our government to pull for our educational systems, and not just make an empty promise, lest our country will severely suffer the consequences.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 8 years
I'm not at all surprised at the dismal number of students dropping out. As a child of two teachers, and having been through various scholastic programs (both the helpful and hindering) throughout middle and high school, I can attest that the system has some serious flaws, including that "Schools actually have an incentive to persuade failing students to drop out". To begin with, in comparison with other nations, our requirements are a joke. Literally. My father was giving a lecture, where several Japanese exchange students were present, and as soon as he began to speak, he said you could hear their voice recorders taping. After class, he had a conversation with them, and asked if they were having any trouble in their classes here. They LAUGHED, and said, "Oh no, they are SO easy!" then turned serious and continued, "but your teachers are some of the best in the world". My father explained that this was because in Japan, the students' scholastic achievement lay solely on the individual, and they very rarely recieve help from their instructors. Both of my parents have encountered exchange students from other nations, and witnessed their ease in sucess in schools, all because their quality of education was superior, such as in nyradzoms' case. In consideration of teachers having incentive to encourage the failing students to drop out, it depends on the instructor. I've had those who promote pushing yourself to achieve, and I've had those who push to get you out of their class. When I transferred schools, I was placed into an honors class that moved at a much harder, and faster pace than the previous honors I was in, and my grades suffered for about a month as I adjusted. My grades before had always been impeccable, therefore my failures had made me competetive to prove that I belonged there. Imagine how I felt when my teacher kept trying to dissuade me from staying there, and place me in a "less challenging" class! I refused, and very soon after was back in grades I could be proud of. It's been my personal experience over all, that if you have any lapse in grade, your instructor WILL try to get you out of their class, almost every time. There have also been teachers who I can't imagine having made it through school without their guidance. I too, was one of those students in middle and high school who had other, far more life-altering problems that made school irrevelent and pointless, and without those teachers' help, I never, ever would have made it. I will always be thankful to them. Teachers aside, there are still major flaws in the public school system, and since I have errands and a house that needs to be cleaned, I'll just have to give one short(er) example. When my grades were in jeapordy for prolonged periods of time because of my clinical depression, I was placed in a IEP program, where I was basically followed around by a 'special instructor' to help me in my classes. IEP is a program for students with 'disabilities' and need 'special attention'. I was to be hawked over, because I was so far into depression, I couldn't even think about school (hence my credibility of having a 'special need'). Though I realized that they were only trying to do their jobs, and seemed to sincerely care about me, being in this program was more detremental to my grades, and personally embaressing. Your IEP assures you that they not only help you, but others in the classroom, so they'll be very discreet. This is not the case (unless there's another student in the program in that same class) and I felt humiliated, and further estranged. Two years and intensive counselling/nearly killing myself to ameliorate my grades later, I was finally out of the program, and glad of it. I couldn't ever say that being in IEP was ever beneficial, and believe it's a waste of tax money. These are only some of the examples of issues I have with the school system in America, and how I can certainly see why there's a higher drop-out rate. There needs to be a resolution within our government to pull for our educational systems, and not just make an empty promise, lest our country will severely suffer the consequences.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 8 years
I agree with one of the early posters, who said that there seems to be a movement towards a "one-size-fits-all" education system - which is where America is going wrong. Not everyone is suited for higher education, and not everyone wants to pursue it, so these students should not be on the same track as those who do. I rather like Britain's system - everyone has to go to school and take tests up through GCSE (tests in all subjects) at age 16. Those who don't plan to go on to university are free to drop out and begin working or vocational training at this point. Others go on to art school or music school if that's where their interest lies. The final two years, higher-achieving students who want to go to uni sit their AS-levels and their A-levels, and apply to a maximum of six universities. There is no shame in leaving school after GCSEs, and it's quite common. It allows the more academically-inclined students to continue in such a vein, while liberating those who have no wish for further maths or sciences or whatever... I went to a fairly high-ranking high school (in the top 200, I think) in the US that offered several different levels of difficulty, as well as vocational training, and while I wasn't particularly challenged by the courses I took (all AP), I think the variety suited most students. Trying to force everyone down the same route just isn't going to work.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 8 years
I agree with one of the early posters, who said that there seems to be a movement towards a "one-size-fits-all" education system - which is where America is going wrong. Not everyone is suited for higher education, and not everyone wants to pursue it, so these students should not be on the same track as those who do. I rather like Britain's system - everyone has to go to school and take tests up through GCSE (tests in all subjects) at age 16. Those who don't plan to go on to university are free to drop out and begin working or vocational training at this point. Others go on to art school or music school if that's where their interest lies. The final two years, higher-achieving students who want to go to uni sit their AS-levels and their A-levels, and apply to a maximum of six universities. There is no shame in leaving school after GCSEs, and it's quite common. It allows the more academically-inclined students to continue in such a vein, while liberating those who have no wish for further maths or sciences or whatever...I went to a fairly high-ranking high school (in the top 200, I think) in the US that offered several different levels of difficulty, as well as vocational training, and while I wasn't particularly challenged by the courses I took (all AP), I think the variety suited most students. Trying to force everyone down the same route just isn't going to work.
CoconutPie CoconutPie 8 years
This article is quite interesting. It's about Americans trying to understand why Finnish students are always #1.http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120425355065601997.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_weekendjournal
CoconutPie CoconutPie 8 years
This article is quite interesting. It's about Americans trying to understand why Finnish students are always #1. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120425355065601997.html?mod=todays_us_nonsub_weekendjournal
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
Mat, I am going out to dinner so i can't respond to you whole message. But I am pretty into the Constitution, and have never heard of the 200 year rule. If you could find a reference I would appreciate it.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
Mat, I am going out to dinner so i can't respond to you whole message. But I am pretty into the Constitution, and have never heard of the 200 year rule. If you could find a reference I would appreciate it.
JackaRoe JackaRoe 8 years
That's perfect, lets just fund another war, we don't need to fund our schools. We just send all those 18 years who don't graduate out there, it'll boost our economy and get rid of all the dropouts. It'll be a Malthusian fantasy...
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
-What? I have no idea what you are talking about here. I need to dig out my old Sociology book, it's in there somewhere. Basically, the original plan for the constitution was that it should be burned and redrafted every 200 years because the founding fathers felt it essential that with an ever-changing society, the laws should change to suit that society and that 200 years was a short enough time that the laws would be relevant and easily interpreted during that period but long enough that society would be ready for a new set by then. I believe not having due process is what is actually taking our freedoms away. I find it more dangerous in what we are doing now, ignoring it, and reinterpreting it without taking the founding fathers intention into consideration. It is very difficult to amend the constitution. It is actually a really wonderful process when respected. Agreed. It would be nice of those procedures were followed, but unfortunately, the government simply makes new laws for such and such a reason instead of following the constitution down the line. One of the other problems that I think we're facing is that instead of listening to what their constituents are saying, many of our Senators and Congresspersons are bringing their own political agenda to the floor and trying to make amendments and statements based on their ideals rather than what the people want to see changed. Agreed, but what we are doing currently is much more dangerous. Are you referring to the absolute power thing or the ignoring of the constitution?
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
<b>-What? I have no idea what you are talking about here.</b>I need to dig out my old Sociology book, it's in there somewhere. Basically, the original plan for the constitution was that it should be burned and redrafted every 200 years because the founding fathers felt it essential that with an ever-changing society, the laws should change to suit that society and that 200 years was a short enough time that the laws would be relevant and easily interpreted during that period but long enough that society would be ready for a new set by then.<b>I believe not having due process is what is actually taking our freedoms away. I find it more dangerous in what we are doing now, ignoring it, and reinterpreting it without taking the founding fathers intention into consideration. It is very difficult to amend the constitution. It is actually a really wonderful process when respected.</b>Agreed. It would be nice of those procedures were followed, but unfortunately, the government simply makes new laws for such and such a reason instead of following the constitution down the line. One of the other problems that I think we're facing is that instead of listening to what their constituents are saying, many of our Senators and Congresspersons are bringing their own political agenda to the floor and trying to make amendments and statements based on their ideals rather than what the people want to see changed. <b>Agreed, but what we are doing currently is much more dangerous.</b>Are you referring to the absolute power thing or the ignoring of the constitution?
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 8 years
Wow, that number makes me very, very sad. :(
LaLa0428 LaLa0428 8 years
Wow, that number makes me very, very sad. :(
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
nyara, my mother called my fathers mother, grandma. When I have kids that is what I plan on doing as well.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
"I completely agree. In actuality, the constitution was supposed to be burned and rewritten every 200 years but that hasn't gone so well." -What? I have no idea what you are talking about here. "However, as for amending it, yes, it does allow for that, and even requires it from time to time, however, I live in fear of amendments to the constitution, seeing as how the biggest amendment being tried at the moment wants to take freedoms away." I believe not having due process is what is actually taking our freedoms away. I find it more dangerous in what we are doing now, ignoring it, and reinterpreting it without taking the founding fathers intention into consideration. It is very difficult to amend the constitution. It is actually a really wonderful process when respected. "Also, amending it too much, in my opinion, would begin to deteriorate the principals it was founded on, especially if it went so far as to start adding stipulations to our founding freedoms" Agreed, but what we are doing currently is much more dangerous.
cine_lover cine_lover 8 years
"I completely agree. In actuality, the constitution was supposed to be burned and rewritten every 200 years but that hasn't gone so well."-What? I have no idea what you are talking about here."However, as for amending it, yes, it does allow for that, and even requires it from time to time, however, I live in fear of amendments to the constitution, seeing as how the biggest amendment being tried at the moment wants to take freedoms away."I believe not having due process is what is actually taking our freedoms away. I find it more dangerous in what we are doing now, ignoring it, and reinterpreting it without taking the founding fathers intention into consideration. It is very difficult to amend the constitution. It is actually a really wonderful process when respected."Also, amending it too much, in my opinion, would begin to deteriorate the principals it was founded on, especially if it went so far as to start adding stipulations to our founding freedoms"Agreed, but what we are doing currently is much more dangerous.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
piper thing was it as rarely given but the thought that if you crossed the line that's what would happen, made us not do anything silly and those who were dumb enough to get caught breakign rules were made a real example of. LMAO!!Jill that's crazy! cine my sister calls her inlaws mbuya aRenee and sekuru vaReneee, roughly which mena Renee's grandma and renee's grandpa.
nyaradzom2001 nyaradzom2001 8 years
piper thing was it as rarely given but the thought that if you crossed the line that's what would happen, made us not do anything silly and those who were dumb enough to get caught breakign rules were made a real example of. LMAO!!Jill that's crazy! cine my sister calls her inlaws mbuya aRenee and sekuru vaReneee, roughly which mena Renee's grandma and renee's grandpa.
piper23 piper23 8 years
I call my in-laws Ms. (first name) and Mr. (first name). Kind of formal. My husband calls my parents mom and dad. Ahhh..in-laws...
syako syako 8 years
Jill! I know! How the heck can you get out of 2nd grade without being able to read? It just blows my mind.
Matdredalia Matdredalia 8 years
cine_lover - I completely agree. In actuality, the constitution was supposed to be burned and rewritten every 200 years but that hasn't gone so well. However, as for amending it, yes, it does allow for that, and even requires it from time to time, however, I live in fear of amendments to the constitution, seeing as how the biggest amendment being tried at the moment wants to take freedoms away.Also, amending it too much, in my opinion, would begin to deteriorate the principals it was founded on, especially if it went so far as to start adding stipulations to our founding freedoms.
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