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Thursday, August 11, 2011

High School Diploma or Doomed to Poverty? Is that the only choice?

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. -- Robert Frost
In 2008 Lansing, Michigan school officials instituted new, tougher graduation standards and predicted that would increase the number of kids dropping out of school.

Rebecca Rocho, an assistant superintendent with the Calhoun County Intermediate School District, no doubt hired for her clairvoyance into the even more distant future opined, “By having them leave high school without a diploma you doom them to a life of poverty, and doom their children to a life of poverty."

In education, nonsense begets even more nonsense. On the one hand, clearly, you don’t make students who are failing less likely to fail by raising graduation requirements. On the other hand, dropping out of high school is not like dropping off a high cliff.

Fact: many top rate colleges do not require a high school diploma. If the student "shows promise" ($$$?), they may be accepted.

Fact: There is no consistent way used to determine the number of dropouts in any given year. Students drop out, come back, switch schools, get GED's etc.

Fact: There are many opportunities for people to pursue further education when and if they want it; for example, through community colleges or on the job training.

For more on this see Identifying the "At Risk" Student: What is the Concern? -- EGR