The nation’s high school graduation rate, which declined in the latter part of the 20th century, may have hit bottom and begun to rise, according to a report to be issued Tuesday by a nonprofit group founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. “The United States is turning a corner in meeting the high school dropout epidemic,” General Powell and his wife, Alma J. Powell, wrote in a letter introducing the report. The report cites two statistics. The national graduation rate increased to 75 percent in 2008, from 72 percent in 2001. And the number of high schools that researchers call dropout factories — based on a formula that compares a school’s 12th-grade enrollment with its 9th-grade enrollment three years earlier — declined to about 1,750 in 2008, from about 2,000 such schools in 2002. The article is in The New York Times.
Angela Collins writes in Education Week: The ongoing focus on school reform has led to broad consensus on at least one point: Improving training and support for teachers is key to improving student learning. Indeed, many districts are investing heavily in professional development and emphasizing collaboration among educators. But do these strategies provide enough of the right kind of support for new teachers, especially in high-demand areas such as science, technology, and math? Lost in the encouraging news about increased investment in professional development is a sobering fact: The opportunities for teachers to engage in sustained professional learning and collaboration have actually declined in the last decade.
All over the United States, community college enrollments have surged with unemployed and underemployed people seeking new skills. But just as workers have turned to community colleges, states have cut their budgets, forcing the institutions to turn away legions of students and stymieing the efforts to retrain the workforce. Unemployment is highest among the nation’s lesser-educated workers, and for them, community colleges offer a critical pathway to new jobs: Classes are open, relatively cheap and often tailored to picking up job skills. The article was in The Washington Post.