Thursday April 3, 2008

Any way you slice it, graduation rates for Miami-Dade schools are pathetic. It is astounding to me that school boards are too logjammed and uncaring to get their shit together and fix this. I know the problems are difficult, but there are good solutions out there. Get the experts together, figure it out, and do it. I know it’s hard, but is it impossible? (Alternate link)



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  1. Allen    Thu Apr 3, 09:56 AM #  

    Let’s be honest, politicians and beaurocrats don’t want to fix the problem because Education spending is both one of the easiest ways to get people to spend more because they care about kids and it’s also the easiest way to steal money from the public since no one questions it.

  2. Duran    Thu Apr 3, 10:56 AM #  

    Why is this news? When I was in high school back in 1997-2001 the graduation rates were below 50%, and they still are. So how is this surprising to anyone? It’s Miami-Dade, that’s how things roll in these parts.

  3. Julien    Thu Apr 3, 02:35 PM #  

    If you dont have teachers who are experts about the subject their teaching, how could you expect a student to graduate?!

    Who is going to do something about it?!

  4. G Topkin    Thu Apr 3, 03:34 PM #  

    Why is it up to the school system [government]to ensure graduation? Where are these dropouts’ parents? Julien, why don’t you head back to school and learn the difference between their and they’re? Allen, it’s spelled bureaucrat. Do I blame the school baord for your stupidity…NO, it’s squarely on your shoulders, folks!

  5. alesh    Thu Apr 3, 03:47 PM #  


    When you have one individual dropout in front of you you can get in his or her face and blame them. When you have 50% dropout rate, you need to look at the system if you want to improve anything.

  6. Dave    Thu Apr 3, 04:17 PM #  

    No one has come up with a solution yet so it must be pretty tough judging by the fact that every big city in the country is having the same problems with their Male students (minority males especially, though White male graduation rates are far lower than white female graduation rates as well). The only big cities with high graduation rates happen to be big cities with very little poverty (i.e. San Francisco where no poor person could dream of living). Typical cycle of poverty, kids grow up in poor homes run by a single working parent that never graduated high school drop out and grow up to do the same thing.

  7. Mikhail    Thu Apr 3, 04:18 PM #  

    When I was a sophomore at Palmetto Sr. (1994), I had a Math teacher that denied the existence of negative numbers! Yes, she, with a straight face, said that 2 minus 3 equals 0. Her logic was, “How can you have less then nothin’?”.

    When I pointed out to her that her own teacher’s edition pointed out negative numbers, she would say that they were misprinted!

    A big part of the problem is the wonderful teachers we hire!

  8. NicFitKid    Wed Apr 9, 04:05 AM #  

    There’s always a solution. For example, since moving to Tennessee, I’ve learned that students here can graduate from high school with a 1.0 average, and the local state test, TCAP, is about as hard as Florida’s old HSCT (from the pre-FCAT days). Adopt these standards and watch your graduation rates soar!

    On the other hand, you could pour time, money, and political capital into hiring and retaining quality teachers while simultaneously imposing painful root-and-branch reforms on the MDCPS administrative bureaucracy (a buzzing hive of cronyism and patronage networks). After a decade, a few modest point increases in the grad rate might occur.

    That, or the system will revolt and wage a scorched earth campaign against the reformers because, you know, it’s all about the kids.

  9. alesh    Wed Apr 9, 07:58 AM #  


    OK, assuming you’ve got the solution there (and I’m not even sure I go along that far… some say that the solution is to link teacher salaries to performance and more charter schools, but assuming ) … look at your second paragraph. Look at the word “you” in the first line.

    Now tell me: to whom does that “you” refer?

  10. NicFitKid    Wed Apr 9, 10:05 AM #  

    Jeez, that’s the last time I write a flippant over-caffeinated comment at three in the morning, you always catch me off guard by taking the shit seriously.

    “You” refers to those who advocate for reform to improve grad rates and education in Florida. There was no solution intended in the comment, merely a glib comparison between how two different states deal with crappy education systems: TN, hide it by lowering standards; FL, struggle with it but make little headway.

    Neither option is a solution, but who has ever managed to once and for all “solve” these big-issue-king-hell-sized-clusterfuck kind of problems? How can the problem ever get solved when the general society regards teachers with same contempt reserved for the retarded and the insane?

    The teaching profession is probably as low as you can go in terms of status and respect while holding a college degree, hence the high attrition rate (the average new teacher in MDCPS will last about 3 years) and the uneven quality (idealists fighting admin interference from above and student apathy from below mixed in with institutionalized burnouts coasting towards their pensions). Hell, the current trend in the popular media prattle about “reform” talks about exactly what you just mentioned, performance based salaries for teachers, which of course assumes that if those damned teachers did their jobs, every child could learn (and if you believe that, I’ve got some cabins in the Smokies to sell you).

    This very thread contains the tired braying of those who mock teachers and pat themselves on the back for it, as if they expected every educator a district hires to perform at the level of Edward James Olmos in Stand and Deliver. If the plan to improve the educational system depends on hiring only perfect educators, expect a perfect planning failure. The limited charter school successes are bullshit as well, since these schools have the luxury of picking their students and throwing out the ones who don’t perform, a stat juking tool that a standard feeder-pattern public school will never have.

  11. class    Tue May 13, 05:36 PM #  

    How can they even communicate with each other? Who in the heck speaks fluent English in Miami?

    And half of the people 25 and over don’t even have a high school diploma in the city of Miami. So the immigrants that can’t speak English come to America and produce their own kind.

    That’s why you have this problem. I graduated from a Florida High School, but all my teachers spoke fluent English.

    I think if I lived in Miami, I’d find it quite challenging to graduate if the teachers can’t even speak English. Oh wait, they speak broken-English. You can’t undersand what in the heck they are saying anyway. But it qualifies for English! LOL

    Actually, I think I’d have to teach them a thing or two! They probably have a teaching degree from a Spanish speaking country. That’s why it’s so screwed up down there.

    What do you want from the poor kids anyway? Look who’s teaching them???

  12. Pancho    Tue May 13, 11:29 PM #  

    Wow, I’m just so impressed with the command of English exhibited by the nativist above. It’s people like him who have all the solutions that should be in charge of everything. If only he wasn’t held back by… well, I don’t know who or what is holding him back. But it must be a conspiracy or something.