Thursday, April 26, 2007

Our Schools: How Bad Can They Get?

New Statistics are in and they don't look good. In Herkimer County, the high school graduation rate is about 75%. In Rome, the RFA graduation rate is only 65%, and at Utica's Proctor it's about the same at 66%. But don't worry . . . it could be worse . . .

In the Big Apple it's 50%, in Syracuse (Dan Lowengard's new home) it's only 47%, in Rochester (at one time known for high teacher pay) it's 39%.

Perhaps it is fitting that one of the worst performing school districts is in State Education Commissioner Mills' backyard in Albany at 38%.
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The Rome paper fittingly tells us about a little distraction from the 3Rs. If students have to go to SUNYIT for a special "STOP-DWI Program" program, then they must be missing at least a half day of school. It seems like every special interest wants to make their pitches to schools -- and gets the "air-time" to do it. Nothing against "STOP-DWI," but the students have basic academic subjects that are not getting learned. Maybe with fewer distractions, some of those graduation rates will come up.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Complaining that public schools are bad based on graduation rates assumes that students currently going through the school system are educable at the levels which would merit graduation. That, I submit, is untested and, perhaps, unwarranted.

While I am generally optimistic about the intelligence and abilities of most people, there are alot of kids who just dont want to be educated. They mark time in schools, never would ever consider doing homework and are relieved when it is all over.

Not surprisingly, their parents are similarly inclined.

I agree that STOP-DWI should be cut out, along with other non-academic nonsense, the graduation rates can only reach a certain level. Perhaps we are close.

Strikeslip said...

Anonymous -- If you are implying that the students located where the graduation rates are the lowest -- i.e., the cities -- are somehow not capable of being educated, I strongly disagree with you. And to use uncaring parents as an excuse for poor performance does not wash with me either. If good results are not expected, then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Yes, there are a lot of kids who simply mark time in school -- but that should not be equated with them not wanting to learn. I've seen this with "alternative ed" students. Usually, they have been allowed to fall SO FAR behind their peers that they get absolutely nothing out of class -- they "mark time" as you say, or, worse, they become disruptive. I view this more as the school's failure than a student's failure.

Google "Marva Collins." She was an educator who went into the absolute worst schools and achieved fantastic results. She knew that most students were capable of learning, and found ways to achieve same. It takes dedication and knowing what you are doing.

Certainly, in Utica at least based on the news, administrators are so busy playing musical chairs that students' needs have taken a back seat to their own. Remember the scheduling fiasco back in September? That hurt students.

Mrs Mecomber said...

To quote Anonymous: "Complaining that public schools are bad based on graduation rates assumes that students currently going through the school system are educable at the levels which would merit graduation. That, I submit, is untested and, perhaps, unwarranted."

What?!??! Students ARE educable-- or at least have no right not to be-- because of all those silly little (not to mention, expensive) preparatory years called "pre-school," "elementary school," and "middle school."

After nearly a decade of schooling, something is WRONG when a student cannot complete the curriculum he has advanced in for 12+ years. That is the main point.