There is ample evidence that this is an urban problem. But geography is not destiny. Rather than blame families for failure, we need to ensure that the education system offers solutions. A good place to start would be to adjust the graduation formulas so that we receive an accurate accounting of the problem, and then set minimum standards of accountability for our public schools.
As it stands, there is little oversight of graduation rates. "As a result," observes the study, "Thirty-nine states now set a 'soft' Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) goal for graduation rates, meaning they can avoid accountability simply by exhibiting even the smallest degree of improvement from one year to the next." This needs to change. Schools that fail to graduate large numbers of minority students must be held accountable under the No Child Left Behind Act. Then, perhaps they will get serious about instituting dropout prevention programs, counseling and other measures that would ensure that public schools work as well for minority students as they do for whites.
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