Friday, October 26, 2007

There you have it...

The entertainment of the adults takes precedence over the education of the children--even for parents! So much for education first.

Much of Mayor Karl Dean's fledgling administration has been consumed by talks about the Nashville Predators' arena lease, taking attention away from some key appointments and a push to reduce the city's high school dropout rate.


George Phillips, an Oak Hill parent whose son dropped out of high school, has expressed interest in serving on [Mayor Karl Dean's education] advisory group. But he said resolving the Predators issue should come first.

"It's a more urgent concern at the moment," Phillips said. "He's got four years to get to all that other stuff." Tennessean

Priorities folks. What are our priorities? Is education first or not? The children don't have four years. We know that the 9th grade year can be pivotal. Four years from now will they have graduated? Or will we just then find the time to turn our attention to their needs? Hundreds are dropping out every year. This man's own son among them. How many of those lives is a hockey franchise worth? (Answer: maybe 100 a month. See the comments section).

"Better schools. Safer neighborhoods.
If we get these two things right, economic development will follow.
It's all connected."
Karl Dean, candidate for mayor.


Eric said...

But, but, but...uhhh we'll have group discount tickets for those all-important field trips and then there's TEA discount night...see we can still do hockey "for the children".

"Hundreds are dropping out every year."

What is the MNPS dropout rate %? Would four years of getting "to all that other stuff" cost them almost an entire graduating class?

Kay Brooks said...

I made a couple of phone calls.

For 2005 (the last year info is available) approximately 995 didn't make it from 9th grade through 12th.

The graduating class for 2005 was about 3,350 students.

The rate improved slightly last year, 6.4%. We can't have the numbers because the info is still embargoed by the TN DOE. In fact the TVAAS site is completely down until early November when the numbers are released. Frustratingly, you can't even get to the old info. It's been down several weeks while they update.

The percentages hide the number of individual lives very well. Nearly 1,000 students.

Eric said...

So, that's really a 23% dropout rate for the graduating "class": 995/(3350+995)=.229

Kay Brooks said...

That whole graduation rate is such a slippery number--it's just amazing how complicated it has become. We can't include the Special Needs children, well, maybe some of them. Should ELL students be included? What about children who take more than 4 years and a summer to get their credits? Throw in some unaccounted for withdrawals and---well, it's not so easy. I'm considering this a ballpark figure (or ice rink figure?).

Clearly, though, we're talking about several students leaving every school day without a high school diploma.