Saturday, August 1, 2009

Look Who's Not Going to High School

The Kids Count report is in, and Lauderdale County seems to have problems with its high school graduation rate. Admittedly, the rate is calculated in a convoluted way.

Assuming 100 students enter the 9th Grade, if one student dies, two drop out, five move out of the district, and two move into the district during the ensuing four years, the graduation rate for that county is 94%. Therefore, graduation rates based on the current formula are not always the best indicator of a school system's success.

However, during the four year period between 2003 and 2007, Colbert County's graduation rate increased by 3.5% and Franklin County enjoyed an 8.5% increase. Lauderdale, the largest and most economically secure of the three counties, had a graduation rate that decreased by almost 8%. Since Lauderdale enjoyed a small growth in population during this same period, it's doubtful much of this 8% may be attributed to any flight from the area. The Kids Count Data did not break down this student loss by system, but both Florence City and Lauderdale County schools should be greatly concerned by this trend.

Interestingly, it's the educators with whom I speak who seem the least concerned. After all, the best students, they say, are the ones who really wish to learn; forcing a child to attend school does nothing for him and adversely affects those who do. Until parents from all economic strata begin to encourage their children to take advantage of every educational opportunity, Alabama will be lucky to remain at 48th place.

What's up with this: The local Chrysler dealership is taking part in the Federal Government's "Cash for Clunkers" program; in fact they are offering to double the rebate. Is business this bad?