Monday, May 14, 2007

Graduate rate is lowest in 10 years

What can be done to stop the bleeding? In an article today from the
San Francisco Chronicle, California's high school graduation rate is plummeting.

California's high school graduation rate dropped to a 10-year low last year as a third of the Class of 2006 left without a diploma, according to state Department of Education numbers posted Friday.

Statewide, the graduation rate was 67 percent of the 423,289 seniors in 2006. That is down from 71 percent in 2005.

That 4 percentage point decline works out to an additional 21,000 students who did not don a cap and gown.

Many want to blame new requirements for exit exams to ensure that graduating seniors display some level of competence in educational matters.

Critics of the exit exam say the plunge in graduates shows why the test should be delayed until the state can ensure that all students -- especially those in low-performing schools -- have had the chance to learn what's on the test.

If the test wasn't originally based on what was expected to be learned in school, what exactly was it based on? To say that students are not adequately prepared for the exam isn't reason for delaying the test requirements, it's reason for making drastic changes in the way that schools teach. The problem doesn't highlight the shortcomings of students, it shines a spotlight on the shortcomings of the government school system. What are we spending billions of dollars for if the end result is a generation of adults who can't pass basic aptitude tests for graduation?

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