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Remind me again why vouchers are a bad idea?

The New York Times, in beat-a-dead-horse mode, is continuing to cover the story of New York City schools supposedly trying to inflate their performance statistics by pushing those who might otherwise drop out into GED programs, instead. Once this happens, the students aren't counted as dropouts, even if they don't finish the GED programs.

But some people are upset that schools are doing this, implying that the schools are cheating the students because GED programs aren't very effective.

Those who teach at equivalency programs say that only a small minority of the high school-age students actually finish the program while most reach an academic dead end soon after their discharge.
This reminds me of the posters up on the walls at law school put up by the bar prep companies. They tried to scare students into signing up for their bar prep classes by pointing out the horrendous pass rate for those students who take the exam a second time. Which makes sense, since the only students who take the exam a second time are students who fail the exam the first time. And students who fail the exam are -- what's the word? Oh yeah: dumb. And dumb people don't do well on tests.

So of course only a small minority of high school-age student finish GED programs. The only people in GED programs are people whose normal high school careers were complete failures. They're not Mensa members. It's not the fault of the GED programs.

But the real disgrace in the story is buried near the end, and has little to do with whether the schools inflate their statistics or not:

According to the city's statistics, slightly less than 40 percent of those who entered high school in the class of 2002 graduated on time, while 19 percent were discharged, 16 percent dropped out, 2 percent got a G.E.D. diploma, and 23 percent were still enrolled and would need more time to graduate.
Remember, if anything these statistics have been inflated to make schools look better. And yet even so, only 40% of students in New York City schools graduated in four years. Forty percent. This isn't college; it's high school.

I think they should worry a little less about how they calculate their statistics, and worry a little more about why almost a quarter of their students can't finish four years of high school in four years. That doesn't include the additional 16% who drop out early; it only counts the ones who actually stick it out and try to graduate. What do those teachers do?

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Comments (2)

Richard:

What do those teachers do?

It is not their fault that they have to spend all their time and energy getting Democrats elected so that they can opposed vouchers now is it? Anyway their students are too dumb to learn, so why bother.*

*The 9th Circuit Court has just made if official. Minorities are so stupid that they are not even able to use a punch card to vote. Previously, SCOTUS declared that for the next 25 years minorities are inferior to whites and Asians.

It's a complicated issue. I also think that voucher is not a good idea. This attempt is at least useless :))
Terry

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