Since I'm on a education tack today....
Texas Public School Accountability System Directly Contributes to Lower Graduation Rates
A study by Rice University and the University of Texas at Austin shows that Texas' public school accountability system, the model for the national No Child Left Behind Act, directly contributes to lower graduation rates.
By analyzing data from more than 271,000 students, the study found that 60 percent of African-American students, 75 percent of Latino students and 80 percent of English-as-a-second language students did not graduate within five years.
Each year, Texas public high schools lose at least 135,000 youth prior to graduation. Researchers found an overall graduation rate of only 33 percent.
The exit of low-achieving students created the appearance of rising test scores and of a narrowing of the achievement gap between white and minority students, thus increasing the schools' ratings, the study showed.
What's more, the study indicated that the higher the stakes and the longer such an accountability system governs schools, the more school personnel view students not as children to educate but as potential liabilities or assets for their school's performance indicators, their own careers or their school's funding.
Among other findings, the study showed a relationship between the increasing number of dropouts and schools' rising accountability ratings, finding that the accountability system allows principals to hold back students who are deemed at risk of reducing school scores -- but a high proportion of students retained this way end up dropping out.