Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cooking the numbers

When my wife started teaching, a crafty old veteran principal told her that any school that claimed to have a low dropout rate had figured out some way to jigger with the stats. Now the NYT notices that he was right. Read it all here. We ask our schools to do the impossible and then damn them when they fail. I myself always liked the suggestion by Dick Lamm -- just forget about dropout rates and let them go. Kids bent on leaving seldom do very well when they stay and are likely to be a drag on more serious students. We waste time and resources on the worst students that might better go to the middle-of-the-pack kids who could benefit by a little extra attention.

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