Saturday, October 17, 2009

Drop Outs

The news had a little blurb recently on the number of students who missed the first and second days of the school year in Indianapolis Public Schools. It was petty staggering around 25% or so. This is a bit of an indicator for % of students lost or the number of drop outs each year. This made me wonder how the city and schools ever estimate student attendance, budgets, etc. Truly sad. What is also sad is the number of drop outs. The IPS system has gone down the tubes in as little as 10 years.

The idea of dropping out and the current state of school attendance aroused my detective side, and I looked up some stats. The stats showed really low drop out rates. I then found other studies and a pretty solid study that showed how the tinkering with stats makes them look better. The drop out picture is worse now than 1960 for both genders and all races. Prison populations are excluded. GED recipients are included, despite a GED not garnering the awardee income equivalent to a high school graduate. Despite what the education machine tells you, a high school degree can give you job security. As a society, the message of education should start with just completing high school. Let's get them through HS as a literate adult.

This is a bit strange too since America has lost so many manufacturing jobs that in the past did not require HS diplomas. Back in the day, it was common to leave school to get a job to support the family. Is that the motivation behind dropping out today? I highly doubt it. What can be done? Not much since so many studies show the most important thing towards educational success is within the individual's home. It might be good to look at what the alternative are for these drop outs. Is there a way to induce them to stay in school? To induce the family to value staying in school? I will have to keep searching for new research and papers. These are the kinds of funded studies I support, not checking the methane content of cow farts. Let's go America.

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