Dropout articles abound

In response to Secretary of Education Margaret Spelling’s speech in Detroit on Tuesday, April 22, there have been more than 350 news items regarding the event according to Google News.  Here are some of the highlights:

  • The Dallas News printed an editorial on April 8 asking the question:  ” Did 20 percent of Dallas high schoolers fail to graduate on time in 2004, as the Texas Education Agency reports? Or did 56 percent of them fail to walk across the stage, as a group led by Colin Powell claims?  The truth is, no one really knows. And not just in Dallas. Across the nation, dropout numbers are as fungible as who won the Texas Democratic primary.  Which is why Margaret Spellings took action.”
  • Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported what Ms. Spellings said:  “Dropouts from the class of 2007 alone will cost our nation more than $300 billion in lost wages, lost taxes and lost productivity…Increasing graduation rates by just 5 percent, for male students alone, would save us nearly $8 billion each year in crime-related costs.”
  • Congressional Quarterly reported that overall, lawmakers are pleased with this direction.  “We have learned a great deal in the six years since NCLB was enacted. As policymakers, we have an obligation to take seriously those lessons and translate them into reforms,” said Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon , R-Calif.
  • From the Detroit Free Press (where Ms. Spellings unveiled the administration’s plans) – Saying the U.S. can’t afford to “waste so much human potential,” the nation’s top educator on Tuesday proposed requiring every state in the nation use the same formula to calculate high school graduation rates — an action she said is necessary to grasp the seriousness of the dropout problem.
  • And from the New York Times:  “Ms. Spellings’s proposed regulations would require states to calculate their graduation rates in a uniform way by the 2012-13 school year, using a formula that in 2005 all 50 governors agreed to adopt. In the years since, only a dozen or so states have done so.Under the formula, graduation rates are calculated by dividing the number of students who receive a traditional high school diploma in any given year by the number of first-time ninth graders who entered four years earlier, adjusted for students who transfer in and out.”

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