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Monday, October 29, 2007

Hey! One List SPS Didn't Make (And That's Good News)

None of Seattle Public high comprehensive high schools made a "dropout factory" list compiled by Johns Hopkins University for the AP based on info from the US department of Education. All the comprehensive high schools in Tacoma were on the list.

"The 22 schools in Washington that researchers call "dropout factories" are spread throughout the state, but are found mostly in poor rural and urban school districts. Every comprehensive high school in Tacoma made the list, but none in Seattle or Spokane did."

Arlington put some interesting ideas into place which seem to be working.

"Hopkins credits two programs for the improvement in Arlington: the freshman academy and the link crew program. Both are aimed at helping freshmen and new students get a good start.

"A much better percentage are staying on track and graduating, keeping up with classmates and earning reasonable GPAs," Hopkins said. "When you catch them right at the start of high school, that has a powerful impact on their understanding the need and value of education."

Students who struggled academically in middle school are assigned to the freshman academy for their four core classes, where they get extra help with their school work and intensive counseling about how to succeed in school.

The link crew is a student-to-student buddy program designed to help new kids find their place in the building of more than 1,600 students.

"A sense of belonging is crucial to academic success," Hopkins said."

2 comments:

Charlie Mas said...

I gotta say how impressed I am by Johns Hopkins University's ability to not only coin an incendiart phrase, "dropout factory", but also get everyone else to repeat it.

The "researchers" applied this label to hundreds of schools based exclusively on a single statistic gathered from annual reports submitted to the federal government. They slap these schools with this epithet without ever visiting a single one of them, without learning anything about any of these places or people, and without the benefit of any data other than a single statistic.

Despite the veneer thin scholarship or research at work here, these folks at Johns Hopkins captured front pages all across the country for one day and got their words on the lips of media talking heads for one day, while causing lasting damage to the reputations of hundreds of schools and thousands of students, teachers, and staff.

I'm sure they are very proud.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Charlie 100%.

Consider schools with highly transient populations, like those near military bases. Think Clover Park and Tacoma with McCord and Fort Lewis near.

These statistics have little to do with the program in place and its effect on the population. It is a great argument for socially promoting everyone so as not to be labeled a "Dropout Factory"

Consider the DOD school in Iceland that serves a USAF base the assignment there is for two years.

They gradate 0% of their entering freshman.

These are numbers but hardly relevant data with any statistical significance. Did the AP fund this so they had something to report?

It has negative value.

Dan