This report by veteran education reporter John Merrow makes the phenomenon of high-school "push-outs" crystal clear. When calculating their graduation rates, Florida schools remove all students who are transferred to GED programs from their rolls. "If they're totally withdrawn from here, then they're not going to count against us. So in essence, they then improved our graduation rate if they withdraw . . ." says Karen Wilson, principal of Evans High School in Orlando. Evans' graduation rate has improved. In the last year, it was calculated, Evans referred 271 failing students into GED programs, thus taking them off its own rolls. That same year, its graduation rate rose from 61 percent to 66 percent, enough to satisfy state and federal requirements. But at the same time, the actual number of diplomas handed out fell from 412 to 354. In two years, Evans has transferred 440 students into GED programs. In that same time, only 14 enrolled.
Last year in Orlando, high schools transferred 1,201 teenagers to the GED; 315 actually enrolled and 135 earned a diploma. That leaves 886 teenagers unaccounted for.
Thousands of Florida teenagers are disappearing from the rolls. Last year, the number of failing students transferred to the GED rose from 11,615 to 17,144.
"A child's learning is the function more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972
Sunday, May 07, 2006
Drop-Outs vs. Push-Outs
at 1:02 AM
Peter Campbell is an educator, academic technologist, and parent. He holds a BA from Princeton University and an MA from New York University. He has been involved directly or indirectly in education for more than 25 years. He currently works for Blackboard, Inc. as a Regional Sales Manager in the Collaborate division. Before joining Blackboard, Peter served as the Lead Instructional Designer and the Director of Academic Technology at Montclair State University in New Jersey. Immediately prior to his job at Montclair, Peter served as the Product Manager for an educational start-up (Learn Technologies Interactive). In this role, he oversaw the design and development of a K-12 learning management system, e-learn.com. His passion for education was forged back in 1987. He began teaching for The Princeton Review, then moved to Tokyo and taught English at a Japanese high school for two years. He later moved to New York City, where he worked as an adjunct in the speech department at Manhattan Community College. He went on to teach writing at the U of Missouri in 1995, and it was there that his interest in educational technology was born. Views expressed here are solely those of Peter.