At least half of all high school students in the state’s major cities are dropping out of school, creating a crisis that state leaders are not doing enough to address, some education experts say.
This was true when I did my masters report in the 1980’s. This problem spans generations in terms of “alarm” over dropout rates. All of the dramatic reforms of the past thirty years, no pass-no play, increasing requirements, teacher reforms, etc, have proven to be only tinkering on the edges of the problem with no real results. I suspect things won’t change until the state is willing to go to some sort of equitable state wide funding mechanism while allowing more control at the local and parent level.
What do we have right now–does 4 by 4 ring a bell? No child left behind? Or how about how we handle charter schools?
Shapiro’s proposed bill would make the closure of a charter school after two years on the academically unacceptable list automatic, removing intermediate steps that have slowed enforcement and helped spur courtroom battles. It would also set an absolute standard that a minimum of 25 percent of a school’s students must pass the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills tests in reading and math. If a school misses that mark two years in a row, it would have to shut its doors.
Shapiro’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Ransom Rice, said there has been discussion of adding a caveat to the proposed bill that would allow such schools to prove that students are making considerable progress, even if their TAKS scores are sub par, thus saving themselves from closure. Rice said even if that measure is added to the bill, however, it would likely be a one-time-only second chance.
The logic behind this “reasoning” is astounding. First, you have schools taking kids who have managed to fall several/many grade levels behind over ten or eleven years and the school gets two years to bring them up to standards.
Then there is the whole “school choice” aspect of it. No one is forcing parents to send their kids to these schools. If these schools are doing such a terrible job, why are the parents still sending their children there? There are two possibilities.
One, the parent believes that the child is benefiting from the school regardless of what the state standards say. After all, they probably do take into account that their child is six years behind when he started the school.
Or two. The parents really don’t have a clue as to how their children are doing which is probably indicative of their own education experience. Can anyone say “culture of poverty?”
How will increasing standards reduce the dropout rate when part of the problem is that the students can’t meet the existing standards to begin with? How can shutting down a school because it doesn’t meet average yearly progress improve students’ performance if they are simply placed back into the situation that generated the problem to begin with?
Why do we still have a 50 % dropout rate after 40 years of alarm over the issue? Because no one is willing to come out and say resolving it would require spending more on students from poor economic backgrounds compared to those from wealthy, suburban districts. Because it would mean that people in a wealthy district would have to recognize that spending money on poor students is a necessary investment for their own children’s standard of living. It would mean letting go of the idea that somehow “those” students are in such poor schools because they deserve it.