Friday, June 11, 2010

Good News About Improving Education

Cheery news from Everett, Washington State, my hometown and the 747’s: They found a way to raise its high school graduation rate that doesn't involve big big money, jingoistic attacks on laxity, or cutting academic standards; they just applied basic management skills to the project of earning a high school education:

1. Close tracking of each’s student progress toward the goal.

2. If you’re not on track (flunking a course or missing too many classes) a staffer finds you by any means necessary, (e.g. tracking down truants via Facebook) and works out a plan to get back on track (pretty much the same way my gym gets me to re-up every year...)

3. If a lot of people fail a particular course, take a look at it. (“One of the classes that 30 percent of students failed was a former graduation requirement called Infotech, a technology-skills class. The problem was that many students knew the material before they started. "They were just so bored silly by the class that they weren't coming”)

4. If you don’t graduate in your fourth year, you’re automatically signed up for the next year.

5. There's more ideas like that but ... did I mention they didn't cut standards? In fact, they added a third year of math to the graduation requirements!

Read About it here!

It may be true that the world sucks. We may be stuck in an unending spiral of degredation, endlessly falling from the Golden Era that was our childhood. Or maybe before that - back in the days of Athens or Lemuria or Atlantis. Back when we were brave, freespirited loin-cloth clad barbarians unworried about pollution, education, government, or living long enough to sneer at our grandchildren.

But sometimes, despite all that, things go in the opposite direction. Congratulations Everett: sometimes, being smart works!

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