Sunday, December 2, 2012

Where is the outcry?

Betsy Hammond has the story on the recent federal report that depicts Oregon as having the fourth lowest high school graduation rate in the nation: "68 percent of Oregon high school students in the class of 2011 earned a diploma in four years." [Oregon's high school graduation rate fourth worst in nation; no state graduates fewer white students on time].

Hammond: "The report revealed that Oregon high schools generate far-above-average dropout rates for students of every racial and ethnic group, including the nation's third-worst rate for African Americans."

So where is the outcry? Are Oregonians satisfied with the results - failure - of their school system? We are not talking about quality of education - but the failure to obtain a high school diploma irrespective of the value of that diploma.

However, it is doubtful that anyone would deny that there is a correlation between dropping out high school and participation in crime. Isn't it an indicator too of the inability to be self-sufficient? And it is not only the individual that loses - it is society that pays the price.

See the New York Times - The True Cost of High School Dropouts. One of many excellent points: "Educated workers are the basis of economic growth — they are especially critical as sources of innovation and productivity given the pace and nature of technological progress."

Betsy Hammond does an excellent job of  sorting out the meaningful data, but checkout the federal website ED Data Express where the data for the individual states can be accessed.  See the Oregon data.

Oregon public schools are failing to produce high school graduates with a value diploma and is failing to insure that all, or even a substantial portion, of high school students graduate. Oregon's governor at least recognizes that there is a problem - but it isn't clear that he understands the problem. One has to question too whether his proposed educational board is a solution or more of the problem.