Without getting into specifics of what it's really like to run a classroom, I'll tell you that over the years things have really changed. The students I teach now are so different than the ones I taught, say, 15 years ago. Their abilities are different, many of them have been coddled by their parents and the system itself, and unfortunately we as educators have done this to ourselves. For instance, it's not okay to fail. We cannot give a child a grade lower than a 50 now. Even if a kid doesn't come to class and doesn't turn in one scrap of work, the lowest grade that they will earn will be a 50. Hmm. I'd like to earn half of my pay for never even showing up. That's in essence what we're teaching them.
Once you get above 25 kids in a room, you physically have a hard time getting to every kid in a 47 minute period to make sure that they understand the concepts you're teaching. You just can't hit on every one of them for an adequate amount of time, in my opinion. Sometimes I feel I need roller skates.
Drop out rates and tracking statistics are a closely monitored fact in every district. We must keep track of where every child goes. So, if a student leaves our school and does not request an official transcript and subsequently that child cannot be located (through multiple means), that child is considered a dropout. That increases our dropout rates, which lowers our rating. It's a catch 22 situation, since wherever that kid went may only require an "unofficial transcript" to enroll.
And to answer the question whether students who leave to go to private school or a home school situation are considered dropouts -- no they are not. They are transfers that then go into another schooling situation. As long as we can document that they have enrolled in another educational environment (whatever that may be), then they are not a dropout. We here in Texas, though, have many transients. One problem in some of our neighboring districts has to do with the come-ons offered by some apartment complexes. They'll offer one month of free rent if you sign a six month lease. So you'll get a family that moves in, enrolls their kids in the local district, takes advantage of the free rent, never pays rent for a few months, has the apartment complex invoke eviction on the family, the kids withdraw, and off they go. They move to another district. Now those students are part of the dropout rate of the previous district. Schools literally spend a tremendous amount of money employing people to track down these students who disappear, all so our rating can be in the "acceptable" or "recognized" range.
Edited by txtchr, 23 April 2009 - 07:55 AM.