Monday, October 31, 2011

Drop Out rates

My only direct contact with the public school system has been with foster children. What I see scares me to death. Most people are shocked to know the drop out / graduation rates.

Data from the California Department of Education show that only 74.4% of students who start the 9th grade will graduate in 4 years. For many students, school is just daycare for teenagers.

Of those not graduating, 18% are considered drop outs; some are still enrolled in school (6.6 %); others are non-diploma special education students (0.5 %) or those who passed the General Educational Development Test® (0.4 %).

These numbers do not include the 3.5% of students that dropped out during 8th grade.

I could not find data on the graduation rates for the 6.6% percent of students still enrolled after 4 years. These statistics also don't reveal what percentage of high school graduates earned "soft" credits through alternative programs.

We have a local high school program that allows students to earn double credits so that they can potentially return to the regular high school and graduate with their class. Unfortunately, students are given "double credits " but it is high questionable if the students actually earn them.

Even though we homeschool, the government school problems effect my family. My tax money finances this system. These poorly educated youth are future voters.

Not all is bad. There are some good programs. There are many students with involved parents who navigate the school system well and come out relatively unscathed and are generally competent.

However, even in this group, that future voter issue still worries me. Without an understanding of history and the principles of government on which our country was founded, voting deteriorates into a popularity contest devoid of substance (which sounds suspiciously like high school).

I'm interested in education reforms that treat tax payer funded education as a privilege, are flexible, leave the responsibility with the parents, and yet provide options for students with less competent parents.

Any ideas?

No comments: