Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Opinion: Save our schools from No Child Left Behind

By John Konop

Our high schools are facing skyrocketing drop out rates, declining test scores, and limited tax revenue (because of the recession). No Child Left Behind's one-size-fits-all education model, with its unfunded mandates from the sate and federal government, has been a massive failure by any measurement.

Georgia has unfortunately followed No Child Left Behind's lead and established a one-track-fits-all philosophy, which forces all students into a college-bound curriculum. The result: students with an aptitude for vocational/tech curriculum are demoralized (and dropping out in greater numbers) and college-bound students are not challenged by an increasingly watered-down curriculum aimed at accommodating everyone (including students who would be better served by a vocational/tech curriculum).

A common sense approach

The solution to these problems requires only common sense and familiarity with an already proven approach. For example, Macon, GA, has developed a multi-track (college-bound and vocational/tech) system based on each student's aptitudes. By putting vocational students and college bound students on different tracks, the school has realized amazing results.
From Macon.com: "…the immediate benefits from the career academy include lower dropout rates, higher graduation rates, and a more skilled labor pool in the county, [school administrator Carpenter] said. The Newnan school's web site states the county's dropout rate has fallen by half since it opened, and the graduation rate for students in dual enrollment programs is 98 percent."
Georgia State Representative Steve Davis has proposed a bipartisan bill (HB-215) to promote this multi-track concept. The bill will provide separate tracks for high school students (a college-bound track and a vocational/tech track) using joint enrolment programs with local colleges and technical schools to support honors and vocational programs.

HB-215 would 1) increase graduation rates, 2) provide our local economy with work-ready students who will increase tax revenues, and 3) decrease the money governments spend on welfare and crime. It will also lower the overall cost of education by better utilizing college and technical school resources, many of which have surplus capacity.
Act now

Please contact the new Speaker of the House David Ralston, who promised to put Georgia's kids before lobbyist interests. Hold him accountable by demanding that he bring HB-215 to a vote. And please forward this e-mail to your friends who care about the quality of Georgia schools.
E-MAIL AND/OR CALL: david.ralston@house.ga.gov --or-- 404.656.5020
Click here to read more and to add a comment.

From: Control Congress, a multi-partisan, issue-oriented political forum that brings together the Left, Right, and everyone in between.

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