It’s easy to manipulate facts. The fake Ed reforms do it all the time to make the public schools look bad, and even some public schools cherry pick facts to look good. Technically what both sides share with the public are not lies, but they don’t paint a holistic and/or honest picture either.
For instance, I checked several on-line accountability school report cards for the high school (I will not provide the links or name of that school here) where I taught for the last 16 years of the thirty I was a classroom teacher (1975 – 2005).
For instance, that high school reported that the 2012 graduation rate was more than 89% for the 449 (from a class of 502) seniors who graduated on time that year. That’s way above the national average of 78.2% for 2010 (the highest national average on-time graduation rate in U.S. history), and the reported average for California that was even better that year at 78.5% (reported by the L. A. Times).
Why do so many Americans earn their high school diploma between the age of 18 and 25?
The high school’s accountability report card that’s posted on-line shows for 2011-12 that there were:
- 545 students in 9th grade
- 631in 10th
- 581 in 11th (This is the year most students turn 16 and by law they may drop out of school—did you notice the 8% drop from 10th grade and an additional 14% drop by the end of 12th grade)
- 502 in 12th grade.
But nowhere is there any information about how large the 2012 graduating class was four years earlier in 9th grade. To discover that, I had to find the on-line accountability report card for 2008-09, and I did. When you know a school’s name, Google is great—most of the time.
During the 2008-09 school year, there were 659 students in 9th grade, but four years later only 502 were still there. Where did the other 157 go? Did they move, drop dead, drop out, transfer to other schools? Why isn’t there an explanation? 659 students started as 9th graders in the class of 2012 but only 449 graduated—that’s an almost 32% drop.
It probably would have been more realistic to say: The on-time graduation rate for 2012 was 68.2% when taking into account the number of students who started in 9th grade four years earlier. Then there should be an explanation of what happened to the other 210 kids, but that might not look good for the school district. Instead, administrators at the district level probably went through the figures—with legal advice to make sure they weren’t breaking any laws—and cherry picked facts that end up looking better than the holistic story.
And of course the fake Ed reformers never mention how many adults in the U.S. have earned a high school degree or its equivalent by age 25. For 2013, that number was 88.15%.
The reality is that everyone doesn’t learn at the same speed; doesn’t mature at the same pace, and better late is better than never.
Instead, the fake Ed reformers that include President Obama and the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, have mandated through Race to the Top legislation that every child must be college ready by age 17/18 and if they aren’t those schools and their teachers will be crucified in the media and labeled as failures in a world where no country has ever achieved that goal in recorded history.
But how can anyone place blame for those 157 kids who vanished, because you can’t teach a kid who isn’t there and you can’t stop them from leaving if they want to go?
There’s also another fact that the fake Ed reformers don’t report holistically. You will hear them shouting that the US has a high school dropout epidemic but nowhere will they say that in 1970, the high school dropout rate was 14.6%, but by 2011 it had fallen to 7% according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Recent dropout rates by race (reported by the National Center for Education Statistics):
Asian/Pacific Islanders: 3.4%
Recent on-time graduation rates by race (did you know that the on-time high school graduation rate in the U.S. in 1900 was 6.4% and by 1950, it was 59%):
Asian: 93.5% (by age 25 to 29 that number reaches 96%)
White: 83% (95%)
Black: 66.1% (89%)
Hispanic: 71.4% (75%)
Does that look like an epidemic?
Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran,
who taught in the public schools for thirty years (1975 – 2005).
His third book is Crazy is Normal, a classroom exposé, a memoir. “Lofthouse presents us with grungy classrooms, kids who don’t want to be in school, and the consequences of growing up in a hardscrabble world. While some parents support his efforts, many sabotage them—and isolated administrators make the work of Lofthouse and his peers even more difficult.” – Bruce Reeves
Lofthouse’s first novel was the award winning historical fiction My Splendid Concubine [3rd edition]. His second novel was the award winning thriller Running with the Enemy. His short story A Night at the “Well of Purity” was named a finalist of the 2007 Chicago Literary Awards. His wife is Anchee Min, the international, best-selling, award winning author of Red Azalea, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year (1992).
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