High School Graduation Facts: Ending the Dropout Crisis
You say, “The national high school graduation rate for 2013 is 81.4 percent – an all-time high. For the third year in a row, the U.S. remains on pace to achieve the national goal of a 90 percent on-time high school graduation by 2020.”
How do you figure you’ll make the goal? There is only 5 years left (2015-2016). I do not know what percentage graduated high school in the 2013-2014, 2014- 2015 school years.
But in 2010 –2011 school year 80% graduated and in 2011-2012 school year 81% graduated. At that rate of 1 increase each year 90% would indeed be attainable. But for 2012-2013 school year it went up only 0.4%. Given that rate in the remaining 7 years that is an increase of only 2.8% added on to the 81.4% we get 84.2% and not 90%.
Plus I think that you will find the more toward the bottom of the IQ barrel you go the harder it will be to improve them enough to graduate. You should not expect to have linear gains. You should expect to have diminishing gains at best and maybe even setbacks.
You do know that Goals 2000 had this high graduation rate (or a similar goal) as a goal in about 1990 (for the year 2000) and it did not come close. Why is it people cannot learn from the past? You keep making the same mistakes—the same unattainable goal over and over again.
Unrealistic goals are unethical. Goals that cannot be attained are not good goals, especially when one’s livelihood depends on meeting those goals.
Regardless the current high school graduation rate of 81.4% amounts to people with IQs of 87 or the percentile of 18.6 and above graduated high school.
For your goal of 90% it equates to an IQ of about 81 or a percentile of 10 and higher graduated high school. I believe that Forrest Gump’s IQ was about a 78 or 79, just below the 80 you want to graduate. Would you really want someone that stupid graduating high school?
Also, you just said that we had a new all-time high graduation rate, so where is the crisis? It has never been a crisis before is why is it now?
You say, “Much of the gain made in recent years comes from increased graduation rates for students of color.”
Good and it is very likely because they were and still are far from the graduation rates of whites and Asian populations. In other words they had the room to improve.
You also say, “A “dropout factory” is a high school that has a graduation rate of 60 percent or less. In other words, it is a school in which its reported twelfth grade enrollment is 60 percent or less than its ninth-grade enrollment three years earlier. In 2002, there were 2000 dropout factories. Today, there are fewer than 1,200.”
It is ironic that from 1960 and before the US had 60% high school graduation rate or less. So, for most of the last century all high schools were dropout factories, by this definition.
What people like these reformers never tell me is how well did the students of dropout factories do in their new school after you closed the dropout factories down?
You continue, “Since 2002, enrollment in dropout factories has dropped from 46 percent to 19 percent among African Americans, from 39 percent to 12 percent among Latinos, and from 11 percent to 4 percent among Whites.”
Yes you have divided and conquered. You may not have educated the kids any better but you closed down schools, fired teachers and administrative people to get rid of the so-called dropout factories.
You write, “Unacceptably low levels of minority, low-income, English language learners (ELL), and students with disabilities are graduating from high school.”
Again, most of this is to be expected. When English is not spoken at home would you not expect the kids to struggle in schools where English is used? Would you not expect this?
You say, “Graduation rates for students with disabilities and ELL students remain in the very low 60s.”
While you have not said so, most reformers are trying to educate our young to be successful in college or the workplace. If you are trying the latter, then the best workplace to consider is the largest employer in the country. The Federal government is the largest employer in the country and a big portion of it is the US Military (Armed Forces). The military has an entrance test, for their enlistees, that every high school graduate usually takes, whether they plan to go into the military or not, kind of like the SAT. Well the military complains that somewhere around 30-33% of all high school graduates that take that test (ASVAB) fail it.
Each of the 5 branches of the military (Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard) have different minimum percentile rankings/scores, that they will accept as passing. They are 31, 33, 35, 36, and 40 respectively. If we go by this as the cutoff line for who should graduate from high school then we have 69%, 67%, 65%, 64%, and finally 60%, given their respective percentile score minimums. So, between 60-69% should graduate based on the US military.
You are already way over this at just over 81%. No wonder why nearly 1/3 fail the ASVAB. But this just gives credence to the claim that we are not educating our kids well enough. This is flat out wrong. When you are talking about percentiles you cannot have more, by definition.
If we take it the other way then the military needs to accept from 10th percentile and above as passing. They’d have to lower their standards in order to do this.
So, a 60% high school graduation rate is fine for one branch of the military.
You say, “African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are still graduating 10-15 points behind the national average.”
This must mean that they are graduating an even greater gap then whites and Asians. Black and Latinos are factored into the national average. They are still graduating more than 60%.
You write, “Low-income students are graduating at a rate that’s almost 15 percentage points below the rate for their non-low-income peers.”
Again, this is 65-70% graduation rates and that range is fine if you use the US military’s ASVAB test score percentiles.
You write, “In 11 states, less than 70 percent of low-income students graduate. Nearly nine out of 10 middle- and high-income students are graduating on time, while only about 7 in 10 low-income students graduate on time.”
Why do you worry about it? Why do you think that every subset of human must have the same outcomes as every other subset? You cannot guarantee outcomes. Since you cannot guarantee outcomes you should not worry about them.
You say, “While students with disabilities have shown some progress, with almost 62 percent now graduating on time, they still lag almost 20 percentage points behind the national graduation rate.”
Again with the micro-management. Again, it is above the 60% that the US Coast Guard would accept.
You do of course realize that if you do get these kids up to the national average graduation rate then this in and of itself will push the national average even higher. That means the goal of 81% would go up some. So, you’d have to shoot for even more kids graduating and that would push it higher still. The only way this will ever stop is if you 100% for everyone.
You say, “Students with disabilities constitute 13 percent of K-12 public school enrollment, so achieving the GradNation goal will rest heavily on raising their graduation rates.”
How do you figure it rests heavily on getting them to graduate at a much higher rate? It is only 13% of students. This represents only a small minority of kids. Since 62% do graduate then it only 38% of the 13% or 4.94% of the K-12 kids. Less than 5% is significant? This is another example of statistical inflation for the express purpose of justifying their stance that change is needed.
All of these benefits that follow are suspect now, in today’s economic climate.
You say, “High school graduates are more likely to be employed, make higher taxable income, and aid in job generation.”
They may be more likely to be employed but the jobs that the high school graduate is doing can be done by high school dropouts as well. Many of these jobs were being done 100 years ago by people with a 3rd grade education or less. But more importantly, the statistics you cite are no longer valid. The jobs are not there anymore.
So far as the aid to job generation goes, this totally bogus. Education, especially just high school, does NOT generate jobs. If this were true then we’d have 0% unemployment and everyone that wanted a job would have one in their chosen fields. This has never happened. With over 40% of US population with a college degree of some sort and over 90% with a high school diploma or GED, you’d expect a near 0% unemployment rate instead of having more unemployed now than anytime during of history, even the 1930s. Forget the 5% unemployment rate that is quoted by government. We have a workforce participation rate of or about 66%. This means that almost 1/3 of the adult population is out of work. Granted some are retired but many have just given up looking for work.
You say, “High school graduates are less likely to engage in criminal behavior or require social services.”
This is because they are employed and not living on the streets. It has little do with education and what was taught/learned in high school. It is more a matter of economics than education.
When you are considered less than human because you dropped out of high school then you are likely living outside the mainstream society that can land you in jail or prison.
You say, “High school graduates have better health and longer life expectancy.”
Many of the high school dropouts are unemployed and living on the streets, without good shelter and food, etc. So, this might be true but the jobs are not in the inner cities, where they are.
You say, “High school graduates are more likely to vote. During the 2012 presidential election, 4 percent of people who left high school without graduating voted compared to 24 percent of youth with only a high school diploma and 37 percent with a college degree.”
So what? What does this tell you? College graduates vote at about 1/3 rate. This just says that most people do not bother to vote at all, no matter what level of education they have. This is hardly a good reason to get your high school diploma.
You also say, “High school graduates contribute to America’s national security because students that leave high school without a diploma are not qualified to serve in the military.”
I know this is true but since when it become so? I dropped out high school in late 1973 and went into the US Coast Guard in January 1974. I had to score higher on one of the precursors to the ASVAB test, the NavBat test. They wrongly think that because things are computerized now that high school is needed. This idea was first spawned in the 1947 report, The Truman Commission Report on Higher Education for Democracy. They said that we needed our population better educated because of the A-bomb (because of technology). That report was wrong and so is the military’s insistence that their enlistees need to have a high school diploma. Using a computer is actually easier than doing it manually. See The Hole in the Wall Project in India. This proves that kids can teach themselves to use a computer.
You continue, “The nation’s economy depends on skilled labor. Business leaders report difficulty in finding enough qualified employees with the skills, training and education to meet their companies’ needs.”
Business leaders are lazy and want an immediate return on investment (ROI). They do not want to train their own people. High school is NOT supposed to make them ready for work. What work are you going to prepare them for? It is impossible to prepare for work in general, any more than we did back in the 1950s-1970s. The training I am talking about is the company specific type, not something that can be generally taught in schools. Business wants someone else to foot the bill for this type of training.
Employers do not know what they need. They come up with a laundry list full of SKA (Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities). Do they truly need them? No, at least not all of them. This especially true when it comes to amount of directly related experience. One learns somewhere around 95% of all they’ll ever learn about a job in the first year or less. So, 3-5 years of experience is not needed for any job.
I have spent almost all of the past 20 years looking at technical jobs and the requirements for them. I recently half-jokingly said they want you to be able to walk on water. Not after I actually had a job requirements list and the last one, number 15 I believe, was ‘Must be to be able to walk on water.’ So, one company actually admitted it.
But again, for most jobs out there, such as retail sales, they can be done and should be done by high school dropouts. The problem is most the high school dropouts are in the inner cites or in rural areas and most of the jobs are not in either location.
If your talking about the skills that Bill Gates wants then there is a big problem with that. Why did Congress ask him to testify? He is a college dropout that has never had a real job. He has always been a CEO. The skills he cites are good for the Board of Directors and upper management to have but not anyone else. He has never been involved with the day-to-day operations management of Microsoft. He has hired upper level managers, maybe. He has never held a standard job. This whole thing with Gates and other CEOs is an Appeal to Celebrity logical fallacy. Anything he says, for the masses, is probably bogus.
Read Peter Cappelli’s book, Why good people can’t get jobs: the skills gap and what companies can do about it. The title indicates that the skills gap is mostly caused by companies, not by the education system.
So, I do not see this as a crisis.