Dropping In On Dropouts

Last week my School of Thought at TIME.com was off eating turkey.  This week’s column is early, today rather than Thursday, because of today’s dropout report from America’s Promise, Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins. SOT looks at the Grad Nation report and the dropout issue more generally:

High school graduation rates are one of education’s perennial bad-news stories. How bad? In 2008, there were 1,746 “dropout factories,” high schools that graduate fewer than 60% of their students. But according to a new report released Tuesday, there is finally some good news to talk about. First, the national graduation rate has inched up from 72% in 2001 to 75% in 2008. There were 261 fewer dropout factories in 2008 than in 2002. And during that six-year period, 29 states improved their graduation rates with two of them — Wisconsin and Vermont — reaching almost a 90% graduation rate.

But don’t call in the cast of Glee just yet. According to the report, by Johns Hopkins University along with two education-oriented groups, America’s Promise Alliance and Civic Enterprises, eight states had graduation rates below 70% in 2008, and 2.2 million students still attend dropout factories. An achievement gap also persists…

Read the entire thing here.

52 thoughts on “Dropping In On Dropouts

  1. Nia

    This article offers interesting statistics on high school dropout rates in the United States. One of the terms that confused me was “dropout factories” which the article highlighted there were few of in 2008 than 2002. This couple with the news that the national graduation rate is increasing all makes for seemingly great news. I did however find it fascinating that dropout rates were linked to the effects on taxpayers, and the national income. In a country that places so much emphasis on the importance of education, it seems dangerous to minimize the gravity of students opting out of education to what that does to the national economy, as opposed to what it does to students on a micro level. It was also perplexing to hear that some of the solutions cited in this article were “fairly obvious” in that having smaller schools, effective teachers, and challenging standards etc. will be enough to bring the dropout rates up without acknowledging the factors that lead to dropout rates in the first place. In an American Journal of Education article comments on low school attachment to be a common issue among schools with high dropout rates. I urge that it is necessary to include statistics on who is dropping out and the circumstances that lead to these situations before offering quick fix solutions. This article offers interesting statistics on high school dropout rates in the United States. One of the terms that confused me was “dropout factories” which the article highlighted there were few of in 2008 than 2002. This couple with the news that the national graduation rate is increasing all makes for seemingly great news. I did however find it fascinating that dropout rates were linked to the effects on taxpayers, and the national income. In a country that places so much emphasis on the importance of education, it seems dangerous to minimize the gravity of students opting out of education to what that does to the national economy, as opposed to what it does to students on a micro level. It was also perplexing to hear that some of the solutions cited in this article were “fairly obvious” in that having smaller schools, effective teachers, and challenging standards etc. will be enough to bring the dropout rates up without acknowledging the factors that lead to dropout rates in the first place. In an American Journal of Education article comments on low school attachment to be a common issue among schools with high dropout rates. I urge that it is necessary to include statistics on who is dropping out and the circumstances that lead to these situations before offering quick fix solutions.

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