Friday, November 02, 2007

Dropout Factories

I find it a bit hard to juggle everything sometimes. Even now I don't quite feel like I have a grip on everything. But I've been voraciously reading all the commentary on the vouchers debate.

The Johns Hopkins "dropout factory" study has intrigued me. After much searching, I finally found a way to access lists of the schools here in an interactive map. You can read the report here.

And this is an excellent document with suggestions for how schools can reduce the dropout rate.

Would love to discuss. Anyone?

I'll try to edit in some key excerpts, but right now, family and work duties need my attention.


MH said...

I took a look at the interactive map. Thanks, I hadn't seen that. Let me just say that it is probably a very good thing, for my own mental health, that I live in Pittsburgh, not Philly (with 23 schools on the list instead of merely 5). I have a theory that is rapidly taking shape. Didn't Megan McArdle go to Penn? I think you can see where I'm going with this. It can't just be really that bad government services leads to conservative or libertarian views, because that just doesn’t fit with voting patterns in either city. Maybe you have to be a newcomer so you have had the experience of something better. Or maybe you just have to be new enough that you don’t know any of the local administrators/teachers/petty bureaucrats/etc. that you’d like to see laid-off or replaced by scabs.

Wendy said...

I'm really coming to believe that there is something biological about political preference. People aren't Democrat or Republican at birth, but they have certain personalities, and at certain times in history, or one's personal history, different parties appeal to that personality trait.

From my perspective, bad government services don't change my idea that government services are a good idea. Some people think bad government services mean that government doesn't work at all. But I see it the same way I see, say, teaching. There are some teachers that are good, some that are bad. We have to figure out how to maximize good teaching and minimize bad teaching. The same way, we have to figure out how to maximize good government and minimize bad government. But I don't think teaching or government is inherently bad.

Anonymous said...

I doubt it is biology. Political socialization in early life is the usual culprit mentioned in the literature. Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to government or teaching. In fact, I am strongly supportive of both. It's just that when I see the local situation, I don't see how either can be made effective without a drastic alternative of the current incentives. And, if you can't get good government, you are better off with less.