The problems public schools have both with statistical numbers concerning how many dropouts each school or district accumulates, and with low-testing populations under the No Child Left Behind act, prompts some schools to either ‘encourage’ students with poor academic records to ‘homeschool,’ or even to reclassify dropouts as homeschoolers.Â Articles about these problems, and the pushing out of such students,Â are not new.
- Union Leader,Â Manchester, New Hampshire,Â 27 February 2004, Report puts drop out rate at 25 percentÂ
- Gotham Gazette, New York, New York, August 2003, High School Push Outs
- The Public Advocate for the City of New York, 21 November 2002, Pushing Out At-Risk Students:Â An Analysis of High School Discharge Figures
Some schools, though, are usingÂ the change from public school toÂ homeschooling as a cover forÂ their drop-out rates:
- Columbia Daily Tribune, Columbia, Missouri, 6 April 2006, State auditor finds schools skewing dataBut not all Missouri school districts are keeping accurate graduation records, according to the recent audit. Auditors discovered 19,000 students who started ninth grade in 2001 and did not graduate but disappeared from school records.Â Â …
In one school district reviewed in the audit, if a student missed more than 10 days, officials sent a letter to the parents saying, “We assume you have decided to home school.”
Reclassifying children not attending school from one bean-counting category to another one, is not aÂ new trick, although the homeschooling wrinkle seems to be a recent addition.Â In the 2000Â presidential campaign,Â the Texas versionÂ wasÂ the “Texas Miracle.“Â The bloggers at Corn and Oil have heard of the practice in Illinois.
I’m saddenedÂ by the effect of NCLB on schoolsÂ and the subsequent effectÂ on children.Â I know that some school administrators don’t like homeschooling because they believe it draws away intelligent children, and lessensÂ federal funding for the school because of decreased enrollment — just as private schooling does.Â But just because homeschooling is a handy pigeonhole, and a pigeonhole not affected (yet) by federal bean-counting, don’t use it as your get-some-funding-free card for covering up losses because of drop-outs.