Graduation Rates, and the Big City.

Well - now everyone is in an uproar over graduation rates. Shock and awe.

Those of us who have lived elsewhere are unsuprised by this news, to be honest.

From USA Today:

Lowest to highest graduation rates in the nation's 50 largest school districts

RateDistrictSize rankRateDistrictSize rankRateDistrictSize rank
21.7Detroit1153.7New Orleans4868.4Gwinnett County, Ga.20
38.5Baltimore City, Md.3053.8Duval County, Fla.1968.6Brevard County, Fla.42
38.9New York City154.6Clark County, Nev.669.3Fulton County, Ga.45
43.1Milwaukee2854.8DeKalb County, Ga.2770.0Hillsborough County, Fla.10
43.8Cleveland4455.1Austin3770.2Anne Arundel County, Md.40
44.2Los Angeles255.2Palm Beach County, Fla.1270.4Cobb County, Ga.26
45.3Miami-Dade County, Fla.455.5Philadelphia872.2Granite, Utah46
46.3Dallas1356.0Charlotte2375.3Mesa, Ariz.39
46.5Pinellas County, Fla.2256.2Orange County, Fla.1575.8Northside, Tex.49
46.8Denver4360.1Polk County, Fla.3477.0Jefferson County, Colo.33
48.5Memphis2162.2Jefferson County, Ky.3180.2Jordan, Utah41
48.7Broward County, Fla.563.0San Diego1681.3Cypress-Fairbanks, Tex.47
48.9Fort Worth3663.1Fresno3581.5Montgomery County, Md.17
48.9Houston763.7Hawaii (statewide)981.9Baltimore County, Md.24
50.4Nashville5066.5Virginia Beach3882.2Wake County, N.C.25
52.0Albuquerque3267.3Prince George's County, Md.1882.5Fairfax County, Va.14
52.2Chicago368.1Long Beach29 


Gee - guess we are not alone. Counties quite often do better than cities. So get over it. The only way to change it is with more parental involvement.


ATL said...

More parental involvement eh? Well It really depends on what you mean by that. If by more parental involvement you mean parents getting all up in school and try to effect change through the mechanisms of school/pta/etc.....well then you are wrong. However if you mean more parents telling their kids to shut up and do their HW or not giving into the baby boomer's folly of giving their kids everything they want, then score you are correct sir!

Or.......instead of focusing solely on numbers, maybe the school system could actually try to improve the quality of its curriculum and to a lesser extend the quality of its teachers-however in my experiences its more the curriculum and its design than it is the teachers. Roanoke City's current way of teaching, as much of the US has had to do thanks to the Repubs, is based on numbers...which doesn't work. C'est la vie.

Amy Hanek said...

I used to live in Florida and things are worse down there. I believe the "Leave no child behind" act has left behind a lot of children... outside the schools.

In Florida you must pass the annual state standardized tests to promote to the next grade, from third grade and up. A lot of children have fallen through the cracks down there, resulting in higher dropout rates. I think they just get tired of being held back after a while.

We need to support our children from underneath and help them as individuals. If there was a formula or single secret to teaching every child successfully, we would have found it by now? Every child is different, offering each teacher an opportunity to get creative. Too many standardized tests get in the way of that.

Al said...

Looking at Roanoke City in the reflection of Atlanta, Dallas, Baltimore...etc is a little silly. Start with looking at Virginia and maybe cities like Petersburg, Portsmouth or even Norfolk. Or how about Salem. So, does the parents of Salem kids participate more or care more? Don't think so. For starters, school administrations and school boards are not all created equal. Some are simply better than others and while that may also be a reflection of the system, Roanoke City has a poorly run system because it has a poorly selected school board. Service on the school board is a social calling, not one driven by an interest in development of the educational system in Roanoke City.

RoanokeFound said...

Now you all know I usually just leave comments lie - but when it comes to the education of our youth, and the problems with the school system - I have a hard time doing that.

Biggest problem, parental non-involvement. And when I say that, I do not mean being involved in the school system - I mean being involved in the lifelong love and process of education.

How many parents out there ask only the cursory questions about their kids day at school? How many ask even less than that?

I've seem some very curious kids have the curiosity sucked right out of them by self-centered, uninterested parents. Perhaps if the parents of the kids who fall in the "not graduating on time" category" showed a bit more drive when it came to the education that can only take place at home, perhaps we would not have high drop out rate we have.

Just my 2 cents.

By the way - if those parents who claim to be interested in education and the overall well being of their little "door prize" - perhaps they should not be allowing them coffee and free reign of retail stores. Someone has to deal with those kids, even if the parents don't.

Al said...

OK all that's fine but tell me how you qualify Salem's accomplishments measured against Roanoke City's?

Chris Berry said...

Comparing Roanoke City with Salem is simply not valid from a demographic standpoint. The city represents the urban core of the greater metropolitan area that includes Roanoke County and Salem. Suburban school districts always perform better than their city counterparts because they do not have to deal with the issues of poverty and crime on the same level. I'm not making excuses for the city, but you have to compare apples to apples.

Philosofik said...

As a former employee of the Roanoke City Public Schools, I'm not at all surprised by this. I can say that I worked with a number of qualified and motivated teachers, but we were all underpaid, had a hard time getting the things we needed for our classrooms. As for parental involvement, it seemed to me that the children who needed it most didn't get it, and the children who needed it least got a lot of it. Then again, that's probably not a coincidence...

Anonymous said...

After raising three girls in 15 school districts (the great, the okay, and the pathetic) and seeing them emerge as successful citizens/adults in their given fields, I have this to say.
No Child Left Behind is not the problem. This problem was here long before that!
First, Roanoke Schools are not very inviting. My grandchild's school with it's cold atmosphere resembles an institution. Where are the smiles, indicating that staff and children are happy to be there? The Principals set the tone of the building, so this buck passes to them.
Perhaps since children are at school more waking hours then at home, schools should be less cold and more welcoming (you can be professional and still be warm, friendly, and approachable) and schools should acknowledge they are "surrogate daytime parents," like it or not.
Perhaps teachers should follow parenting class advice and stop screaming and start speaking with positive verbage to build children up and bring them closer.
Perhaps we can find a way to make these children secure and confident, and stop throwing them to the wolves in the name of making them independent.
Maybe we should go back to allowing them to be children first.
Perhaps elementary children should start school at a decent hour.
(My senior class went to school 9-3 all through school and 2/3 of them are highly educated professionals).
Perhaps high school students should go to school early since that is what happens when they enter the employment field post graduation.
Perhaps the emphasis should be on academics instead of sports.
Perhaps parents need to take back the schools, and further more, maybe parents should be aware of the behaviors and habits they are passing on to their own children and become more responsible and accountable for them.
And last but not least, I have no sympathy for the cry of low pay.
You educators work less hours for less months, get more holiday time with your families then most workers. I know, I worked in schools for several years. You chose this field, if you cannot treat our children with the care and respect they deserve, then get out and sell real estate instead.