Sunday's Tennessean had series of articles regarding dropouts. They interviewed several and what jumped out at me was the abysmal advice and service MNPS provided these people when they were students.
"Mom took me to High School to see about me getting in school there, but they said I couldn't start because I didn't have a transcript,… We kept going back and forth for two months, and we could never get it straightened out.'' Simone Moore
She couldn’t even start? OK, maybe she couldn’t get her diploma until after the paperwork was cleaned up but not even be allowed to attend classes? Add her to the graduation rate body count of 40 charged to the counselors at Maplewood.
“Bryant eventually dropped out of summer school, but when she returned to Glencliff that fall, she said school officials wanted her to take AP English 4, Honors History and a few other courses. "I was going for an honors diploma, and I thought the AP English course would be too much for me because I was working full-time,'' she said. "School officials told me that I had to take that course, and I ended up flunking it with a 68. "I had no vehicle, and they wanted me to take a credit recovery class after school three hours a day for three days a week, but I had to be a work at 5 p.m. in MetroCenter.” Elizabeth Bryantand
"While Seivers and Johnson wouldn't call the dropout problem in Metro or statewide an epidemic,..."
Despite what Sandy Johnson & Lana Seivers think, and yes I know they're the paid professionals, a 20% dropout rate and worse is an epidemic and it must be stopped. Perhaps the real problem is that they're allowed excuses like this without losing their jobs.
"Yes, we have a problem,'' Sandy Johnson, chief instructional officer for Metro schools, said in an interview. "I think a lot depends on how the graduation rate is calculated.So intead of focusing on educating the children and doing whatever it takes to help them stay on task we're going to work the numbers? The answer has been yes and I'll try and get Dr. Garcia's proposed 'new and improved' grad rate formula posted here.
UPDATE: Here are the 2005 graduation rates for MNPS high schools--
From the bottom:
Pearl Cohn Magnet 48.2
Whites Creek 53.7
Hunters Lane 66.9
John Overton 67.1
Nashville Arts Magnet 88.5
East Literature Magnet 97.3
Hume Fogg Magnet 99
MLK Magnet 99.4