More schools enjoy higher graduation rates thanks to homeschoolers

The numbers are coming in, and darn if I wasn’t right about this.

Bottom line is; more parents are willing to leave their poorly performing public school and possibly do NOTHING, rather than stay in that school and not have enough credits to graduate anyway. Read the Muncie StarPress article here (there are quotes by yours truly there) and then the sidebar article here, that shows many of the schools in the area are experiencing an increase in homeschool transfers and graduation rates.

This all started several years ago, when we thought nothing about allowing children to drop out at age 16. Then someone got the bright idea that ALL children should be forced to graduate high school with a diploma (no matter how worthless it might be.) Now all kids are forced to stay in school until age 18. But with every new law, there are unintended consequences.

In this case children who are leaving schools before 18 (whether the parent is planning to homeschool or not) are categorized by the school as “transfer students” to home education. This isn’t something new, as I’ve been blogging about it for a few years, but it’s not something that’s going to go away, either.

This is the trend I have been calling “Excommunication” for years… ever since the dropout age in Indiana was raised from 16 to 18. I believe that unless this practice is dealt with at the school district level (by allowing children to drop out of schools that are failing them and increasing the number of public choices outside of district public schools) we will see more frequent cases of parents simply LEAVING their schools and not pursuing other educational avenues.

The fact that more and more parents are willing to simply leave their government school and do nothing, says more about the public schooling monopoly and its failures than it does about the homeschooling community.

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Archive: Graduation Rates by the Numbers

The following is a reprint (copy/paste) from a a supplement to an article I archived here.

Graduation Rates by the Numbers

Written by The StarPress
10:46 PM, May. 21, 2011

The following represents the number of students from each graduating class (2006-2010) who dropped out or completed a home-school transfer anytime during their high school years before their expected date of graduation. The graduation rate for each year is also included.

Muncie Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 68.1 percent
Dropouts: 68
Home-school transfers: 11

2007
Graduation rate: 73.4 percent
Dropouts: 51
Home-school transfers: 48

2008
Graduation rate: 78.9 percent
Dropouts: 25
Home-school transfers: 121

2009
Graduation rate: 84.5 percent
Dropouts: 16
Home-school transfers: 146

2010
Graduation rate: 90.3 percent
Dropouts: 7
Home-school transfers: 143

Delaware Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 83.8 percent
Dropouts: 22
Home-school transfers: 1

2007
Graduation rate: 85 percent
Dropouts: 24
Home-school transfers: 6

2008
Graduation rate: 85.7 percent
Dropouts: 13
Home-school transfers: 8

2009
Graduation rate: 90.8 percent
Dropouts: 7
Home-school transfers: 20

2010
Graduation rate: 93.2 percent
Dropouts: 8
Home-school transfers: 18

Wes-Del Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 89.7 percent
Dropouts: 7
Home-school transfers: 0

2007
Graduation rate: 91.8 percent
Dropouts: 5
Home-school transfers: 0

2008
Graduation rate: 87.7 percent
Dropouts: 5
Home-school transfers: 3

2009
Graduation rate: 96.7 percent
Dropouts: 2
Home-school transfers: 5

2010
Graduation rate: 93.7 percent
Dropouts: 4
Home-school transfers: 2

Liberty-Perry Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 85.6 percent
Dropouts:
Home-school transfers: 0

2007
Graduation rate: 87.2 percent
Dropouts: 6
Home-school transfers: 1

2008
Graduation rate: 90.9 percent
Dropouts: 3
Home-school transfers: 2

2009
Graduation rate: 96.6 percent
Dropouts: 1
Home-school transfers: 3

2010
Graduation rate: 97.5 percent
Dropouts: 1
Home-school transfers: 6

Cowan Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 98 percent
Dropouts: 1
Home-school transfers: 0

2007
Graduation rate: 92.2 percent
Dropouts: 3
Home-school transfers: 0

2008
Graduation rate: 84.8 percent
Dropouts: 3
Home-school transfers: 1

2009
Graduation rate: 89.8 percent
Dropouts: 2
Home-school transfers: 0

2010
Graduation rate: 95.7 percent
Dropouts: 1
Home-school transfers: 3

Yorktown Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 88.3 percent
Dropouts: 11
Home-school transfers: 2

2007
Graduation rate: 93.2 percent
Dropouts: 5
Home-school transfers: 2

2008
Graduation rate: 88.1 percent
Dropouts: 15
Home-school transfers: 5

2009
Graduation rate: 93 percent
Dropouts: 5
Home-school transfers: 8

2010
Graduation rate: 95.3 percent
Dropouts: 2
Home-school transfers: 14

Daleville Community Schools

2006
Graduation rate: 84.4 percent
Dropouts: 2
Home-school transfers: 1

2007
Graduation rate: 81.6 percent
Dropouts: 6
Home-school transfers: 0

2008
Graduation rate: 85.2 percent
Dropouts: 7
Home-school transfers: 2

2009
Graduation rate: 87.5 percent
Dropouts: 6
Home-school transfers: 5

2010
Graduation rate: 78.7 percent
Dropouts: 8
Home-school transfers: 6

Source: Indiana Department of Education

Archive: MCS Graduation Rate Too Good to Believe

Due to the practice of archiving (and effectively burying) articles published online, I archived various articles of importance, in the event that they can not be found at the original source. This is a “copy/paste” job and of course, all rights still belong to the author and the publisher. The original Post can be found at: http://www.thestarpress.com/

Are MCS graduation rates too good to be true?

11:09 PM, May. 21, 2011
Written by Michelle Kinsey

MUNCIE — Over the last four years, Muncie Community Schools has seen a significant increase in its graduation rates — from 68 percent in 2006 to 85 percent in 2009.

Too good to be true? Well, it’s complicated.

To get to the reasons behind the growth, you have to look at the ways the district is trying to keep kids in school, as well as the ways in which those who are leaving are being documented.

There’s no doubt the district has created legitimate and successful means of keeping students on track to graduate. But the recent improvement in graduation rates across the state is also misleading, thanks to a change in the law that allows parents to simply indicate their child is home-schooled to avoid the “drop-out” label.

So graduation rates are better than they’ve been in many years, but are the needs of at-risk students really being served? Well, that depends on the district and how far they’re willing to go to meet the needs of troubled students.
Credit where credit is due

The efforts to keep students in the classroom until they get that diploma are centered on the credit recovery program, which began four years ago.

“We have seen a significant improvement in graduation rates since it began,” according to MCS Director of Secondary Education Jo Ann McCowan.

This semester, 26 seniors are on track to graduate next month with their class after earning credits through the program.

DaTiana Jolly, 18, is one of them.

On Tuesday, Jolly was five questions into her chemistry final, the last credit needed for her diploma.

“I like it here,” she said of the lab, which is lined with 25 computers at the Muncie Area Career. “It gives you a chance to teach yourself; to find a way that’s easiest for you.”

After last semester at the lab, Jolly decided to return to finish out the remainder of her credits here.

“No, I don’t think I would be graduating without this program,” she said. “No way.”

One size does not fit all

The key part of this credit recovery program is its flexibility.

“We really work with the student to find the best fit,” McCowan said.

(Page 2 of 4)

While the first year of the program’s existence offered a limited amount of labs, students now have the option to recover their credits in one-hour increments during labs at their school; attend half- or full-day labs at the Muncie Area Career Center during the school day, or go into the MACC a few nights a week. They can even do the lab work during summer school.

Students get to move at their own pace thanks to an online program (PLATO) that allows students to test out of sections they already know and spend more time in sections requiring more effort.

Surrounding Jolly were more than a dozen other students working on a variety of subjects, from algebra to world history. Forty credits in all are offered through the recovery program.

For many students — not all, mind you — the program is just what they need to keep them on track until they get that cap and gown.

“Some kids do much better in the MACC labs because they are away from all the distractions at their home school,” McCowan said.

Students here will do the credit recovery work as well as their normal class work.

“It’s like a one-room schoolhouse,” McCowan said.

The one-room teacher is Angie Johnson.

She has seen students walk through the door with F’s and walk out on the honor roll. But she said success in the program requires constant “tracking” by her and school counselors.

“I have them all on speed dial,” she said.

Muncie’s success with the program, she said, has led to the creation of similar programs at Cowan, Daleville, Delta and Wapahani high schools.

She added that the local credit recovery program has made such an impact that she has seen enrollment numbers drop for basic adult education classes, which are taken by students who drop out and then return via the MACC.

“Would we have more drop outs without this program?” she said. “Yes. Without a doubt.”

Home schooling, really?

Credit recovery is certainly one reason why the drop out numbers are declining and grad rates are improving.

But there might be other factors involved.

(Page 3 of 4)

Take home schooling.

As drop-out numbers have decreased, the numbers of parents opting to home-school their children have increased — an increase that began when the minimum age for legally dropping out of school changed in 2006 from 16 to 18.

The MCS graduating class of 2006 had 11 home school transfers and a graduation rate of 68.1 percent; the class of 2009 had 146 home school transfers and a grad rate of 84.5 percent. Are all of the 146 newly students actually being home-schooled? Very doubtful, say state officials and true home school advocates.

Muncie is not alone. You’ll find the recent jumps in home school numbers at other districts as well, including Delaware, Richmond and Anderson.

It turns out you do not have to do much to transfer your kids to home school.

You are required to inform the school of your decision, then asked to fill out an online form for the state.

After that, the district — and the state — have no way of knowing how much home schooling is actually going on.

“Indiana does have a home school registration database,” said Stephanie Sample, communications director of the Indiana Department of Education. “However, since home schooling is not really regulated by Indiana law, it’s a bit difficult to say the numbers we compile are accurate.”

According to the IDOE, home-schooling parents are supposed to keep track of attendance, but this does not have to be submitted unless requested.

“As with any other transfer, the public school’s responsibility ends when the administration of the child’s new school (in this case, the parent) verifies enrollment, either verbally or in writing,” according to the IDOE website.
Knee-jerk reactions

Ben Bennett, who started the Indiana Home Educators Network in 2000, said the number of people contacting him about home schooling has definitely increased over the last few years.

Many of those parents, he said, are what he calls “knee-jerk home schoolers” who are pulling their kids out in desperation because they are fed up with one or a number of issues at the school.

(Page 4 of 4)

But does he believe that all of the students who are reportedly transferring to home school are actually be educated by their parents?

No.

He said that for some it’s a win-win for the school and the parent. The parent no longer has to deal with the child’s difficulties at school — an attendance problem or behavioral issues, perhaps — and the school “gets the kid out of the system and raises its graduation rate.”

McCowan denied that any student or parent would be persuaded by, say, a school counselor to choose a home school transfer as an alternative to dropping out.

“Our administrators do a good job of counseling students to stay in school,” she said.

But the decision, ultimately, is the parent’s.

McCowan did say that it’s the school’s responsibility to stress the importance of getting a high school diploma.

It’s now considered the “baseline” of education. You have to have at least a high school diploma today, she said.

According to a 2010 Gallup poll, 92 percent of students nationwide think they will graduate high school. But the nation’s overall graduation rate is just 70 percent.

Those who land in the credit recovery program in an effort to get them to graduation day, Johnson said, often wish they could go back and talk to freshmen.

“They want to warn them, tell them what not to do so they don’t make the same mistakes,” she said, looking out over the students clicking toward graduation.

One credit at a time.

Contact Michelle Kinsey at 213-5822.

Outpatient Orphanages: Schools keep kids, jobs in house

Yeah… I know I use hyperbole like some people use too much ketchup on mac-n-cheese. (What… you don’t? Try it sometime.) So it should be nothing new, when I point to stories like this: Delaware Community Schools will run its own latchkey program to minimize job cuts | The Star Press and say, “See? See? We are on our way towards finding a great new purpose for America’s anemic district schools. Some day, they are going to eventually start keeping kids overnight, then for the week. And then when it’s determined that ‘certain’ kids’ family life just doesn’t meet government standards, compassion will rule the day.

And in the name of compassion, we will think nothing of taking those “at risk” children off the hands of those bad parents!

Okay… you’re right. This isn’t going to happen in the near-near future. But what other future for our public district schools can you think of? They are terrible at actually educating kids, and they are constantly complaining that parents aren’t getting their kids “ready to learn” before they get to school….

Don’t you think there’s just going to come a time when (in order to save jobs, because we should always have government schools!) they’ll suddenly find out they are better suited for “taking care of children” than many parents?

If your only criticism is that it makes you uncomfortable when I call Government Run Public Schools “Welfare Schools” or “Outpatient Orphanages” then I think you’re just in denial. Think for a moment and take a stab at what YOU think the future holds for public district schools.

Get back to me.

Curing the Public School Disease: The Diagnosis

All I see–in news story after news story about Public Schooling–is symptom after symptom being treated as if it’s the disease.

It’s like suddenly realizing your foot has gone all gangrene on you, and the doctor says, “Yup… that’s nasty. We have to cut it off or you’ll die.” So you lose the limb (because you really don’t want to die right now) and go home happy that your problems are solved… except the doctor didn’t tell you about your diabetes.

Turns out the doctor makes his money performing amputations. Being the professional who knows more than you, he will be more than happy to solve your problems three more times before he’ll have to look harder for another symptom to treat.

So, here are a few more symptoms of another sort: We have discipline problems in Muncie schools, we have a student that was allegedly raped by another student during lunch and the administration brushed her off for two and a half hours (and didn’t call the police), and as a result of the outcry, the public school administrators are making up new rules to make sure this doesn’t happen again. (RIGHT!) So once again, we are all up in arms (and legs, if we are to continue this metaphor) about how to treat this pressing problem; a problem that is a symptom of the disease, not the disease.

Pretty much every public education problem we read or hear about is a symptom.

  • Teachers aren’t teaching the kids the basic knowledge needed to function in society. Symptom.
  • Parents aren’t teaching their children to respect authority. Symptom.
  • Kids aren’t interested in learning and they lash out or disrupt or bully the students who are interested in learning. Symptom.
  • Kids dropping out or “escaping” before the school wants them to. Symptom.
  • Public school officials, tired of the high number of poorly performing students negatively affecting their state test averages, only to turn into dropouts and negatively affecting their graduation rates, are finding creative ways to turn those numbers into gold by excommunicating those kids to private schools (homeschooling.)  See what’s going on in Texas, Illinois, and Indiana if you want to get an idea of what’s probably going on around the nation and still under the radar. BIG, WRONG, TREATMENT OF A SYMPTOM.
  • Rapes, assaults, drugs, gangs, sex in classrooms, sex with students, sex with teachers…. Symptoms all.

About anything you can come up with that we call a “problem” with Public Schools today, can be boiled down to a symptom, not a foundational, systemic, cause of all our problems with public education as we know it today.

So why are we so eager to treat the symptoms and not the disease that has so many disparate and unique symptoms? Could it be that we fear treating the disease because we know the side effects are going to be too uncomfortable for us to handle? Could it be that our culturally ingrained philosophies about schooling every single child at all costs have caused us to miss the point of what true education is all about? (Tolstoy would have called real education–enlightenment. We don’t hear that today. Today, it’s called “attendance.”)

Before compulsory mass schooling was proposed and implemented, funded by the taxpayers and delivered by government employees, there were generations upon generations of people who somehow managed to educate themselves. Start your research by reading about the Founding Fathers. Educate yourself and get back to me.

I know it’s hard to believe–for those of you who don’t read and educate themselves–but before public schooling, America’s literacy rate was estimated to be above 90%. Most all families had a Bible and could read it. The Federalist Papers were written in a manner (at the time) so that even the average American could understand what was being proposed. You could say that Adams dumbed it down so everyone could figure out what that Constitution thing was all about.

Can you imagine ANY high school class studying the Federalist Papers, discussing and debating the content intelligently today? Ever wonder to yourself why public schoolers don’t read much, or well? That’s another symptom.

So what is the disease?

Compulsion

The freedom and liberty we enjoy as Americans have been curtailed when it comes to our personal enlightenment; our personal education, if you will. One single law, and the feeding of a leviathan I call the Government/Education Industrial Complex has almost single-handedly usurped the responsibility and duty of every parent to raise AND educate their own children. Let’s face it: we’re only one free or reduced meal away from turning many of our public schools into Outpatient Orphanages. Right now, they’re just welfare schools for those who don’t take responsibility for rearing AND educating their children seriously.

If it’s Taxpayer Funded, Government Run, and Attendance is Compulsory, it must be a SCHOOL!

Schooling is NOT education. The two are different animals. Schooling in America is a system entirely based on compulsion… attendance.

Ever wonder why we don’t have compulsory EDUCATION laws? Why is that? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to be doing? You go to school to get an education. Right? Well, no. If the State codified the compulsory receiving of an education/learning/enlightenment, then when they fail to deliver on that promise, you could (in theory) make a legal claim against the State.

The reality is, the State only compels you to ATTEND a school. You (or rather, your child) is not required to actually LEARN anything. You see… THAT part is really still up to the parent. YOU, the parent, are still responsible for making sure that your children BECOME educated, or enlightened so that they can participate in our civilized society. According to the state, schooling takes exactly twelve years… for everyone. But education? Isn’t that really a lifetime learning thing?

When do you really start learning about life and what you really want to be when you grow up? After high school, right? Isn’t that what we tell each other while retelling all of our public school horror stories? So what was the point of all those wasted years?

Oh! Take a look at that! Could that be a disease? Could that be the thing that spins off all those psycho-social symptoms we can’t keep track of? Compulsory Attendance? Never mind, let’s just chop off another limb. Let’s arrest parents who don’t force their children to attend government schools. That’s a symptom we can handle.

So seriously… how do we treat the disease and put a stop to about 90% of the social symptoms we are experiencing with Public Schools?

1) Repeal all compulsory attendance laws. We don’t have to have a law to force people to feed, clothe and shelter themselves, why is it necessary to force them to attend a government institution at the taxpayer’s expense for something called schooling?

2) Redefine the public’s role in paying for the attendance of other people’s children in State-run Schools. We either agree that it is important to contribute to the funding of every child’s education (not just the children who are property of the state) or we decide that while we support the education/enlightenment of every child, it’s really up to the parent to decide how that works out for their family–and how to pay for it.

I’ll let everyone mull those two big shots of chemo’ and expound on how I believe this treatment will work in a future post.

—-

It’s not that we can’t solve problems because they’re complicated; it’s that we DON’T want to solve problems because the solutions are too hard.