Drop-out data reveal crisis

Some 24.2 percent of California students drop out of high school, according to new state data. That’s nearly double the failure rate estimated before the state started tracking individual students. About 68 percent of students earn a high school diploma; another 8 percent complete a GED or other alternative certificate.

The drop-out rate is 41.6 percent for black students, 30.3 percent for Latinos, 15.2 percent for whites and 10.2 percent for Asians, according to the state.

But the new report won’t end the debate on drop-out numbers, writes Dan Walters in the Sacramento Bee.

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  1. Walters is right, which is interesting, because on Monday the Bee published an editorial announcing that these new calculations WOULD end the debate. The new numbers are better, but they do not include a 4-year drop-out rate, and the 4-year grad rates are not disaggregated. It’s hard to discuss improvement and reform when we cannot establish accurate and honest information and what’s really going on.

  2. I say that education is the REAL crisis in this country. You can’t even begin to tackle hard problems like energy, climate change or terrorism if your citizens aren’t even getting a high school education – or if the one they are getting is a sham.

    Slowly but steadily, our national level of education is sinking lower and lower. It’s like Hal in the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey, when he says he can feel his mind going. Whether it’s checkout clerks who can no longer make change or adults who are proud of not being able to add fractions or high school kids who can’t find Iraq on a map, the signs are all around us.

  3. 100% agree, Rob.

    The less educated the general public is, the faster a country will descend into tyranny. Why? How can you ensure the protection of rights you don’t know you have? How can you protect yourself from harmful things you don’t know exist? etc.

    The fact that the President and Congress in the U.S. have almost totally reached a point where they do what they want with absolutely no regard for the people’s will, rights, or common sense for the general good anymore (both parties, BTW) is proof enough that we’re heading into this direction.

    Let’s face it, the K-12 education system as it is now in the U.S. is broken. A complete failure. Unless we redesign the system from scratch, it’s going to fester like a disease-ridden corpse and then infect the college system as well (which it appears to already be doing at the community college / undergraduate level).

    The fact that the U.S. has developed a strongly anti-intellecutal culture over the last few generations isn’t helping, either. It’s cool to be ignorant these days!

  4. Tom West says:

    One thing I’m a little confused about. Which is the greater crisis? Too many children dropping out, or too low standards allowing anyone with a pulse to graduate?