It is frustrating to me that the page titles online often differ from the hard copy headlines.
[O]nly 9 percent of 9th grade students in DC graduated from college within five years of finishing high school. Moreover, if you’re a DC student who just makes proficiency on the DC CAS, that level of proficiency translates to only a 16th percentile score on the SAT.
This is a remarkable admission from a public school system in a public document.
Recalling what I’ve written in other recent posts, just yesterday I noted in my diary that “the public schools are a ladder.” The Chaos Factor, however, militates against any and every institution.
The plan in D.C. is to isolate first-time ninth graders from overage students, so that the highest ratio of those who want to succeed can do so, without being distracted and bullied by those who have shown they do not intend to succeed.
I moved to Baltimore from Ohio in 1978, my first job after college, specifically to teach English in the City public schools. I wound up at a middle school serving O’Donnell Heights, a public housing project that had been the focus of many sociological studies for reason that, at the time, it had one of the most intense concentrations of poor Caucasians in the country. Of the children born there who stayed there, 2% would graduate high school.
Our goal was not to keep the children from dropping out of high school. Our goal was to get them into high school, since so many of them were dropouts as of 7th or 8th grade.
I have had conversations more recently with public school teachers, about the problem of the presence of overage students in the classroom, who are disproportionately prone to disrupt education and to intimidate their younger peers. There is a tendency to graduate as many children as possible from the last grade of elementary school, and then of middle school, in order to weed out the troublemakers; and then retain as many as possible in grade in the first grade of middle school or high school.
I have no solutions, and no special strategy for dealing with overage students once they’re separated from correct-age peers. The one most powerful factor I can think of is the establishment in the community of an expectation of school success, and the education of parents to act accordingly in the environments they control at home.