Archive | June, 2012

Report: Some good news about high school graduation rates

30 Jun

If children are to have a chance to participate not only in society, but in the economy, they must graduate from high school. In A B.A., not a high school diploma is the new threshold degree, moi said:

Laura Pappano reports in the New York Times article, The Master’s As the New Bachelor’s

Call it credential inflation. Once derided as the consolation prize for failing to finish a Ph.D. or just a way to kill time waiting out economic downturns, the master’s is now the fastest-growing degree. The number awarded, about 657,000 in 2009, has more than doubled since the 1980s, and the rate of increase has quickened substantially in the last couple of years, says Debra W. Stewart, president of the Council of Graduate Schools. Nearly 2 in 25 people age 25 and over have a master’s, about the same proportion that had a bachelor’s or higher in 1960.

“Several years ago it became very clear to us that master’s education was moving very rapidly to become the entry degree in many professions,” Dr. Stewart says. The sheen has come, in part, because the degrees are newly specific and utilitarian. These are not your general master’s in policy or administration. Even the M.B.A., observed one business school dean, “is kind of too broad in the current environment.” Now, you have the M.S. in supply chain management, and in managing mission-driven organizations. There’s an M.S. in skeletal and dental bioarchaeology, and an M.A. in learning and thinking.

Alexander Eichler is reporting in the Huffington Post article, Many With Only High School Degree Laid Off During Weak Recover:

Among those Americans with only a high school degree who have lost a job since 2007, a third became unemployed after the official end of the recession, according to The Washington Post.

It’s a troubling statistic in its own right — job seekers without a college degree are having serious difficulty finding work in the current market, and the unemployment rate for high school graduates is more than twice that of college grads — but it also underscores the fact that, for many Americans, the recovery hasn’t felt very different from the recession that preceded it.

Economists consider the Great Recession to have ended in the summer of 2009, nearly three years ago. That’s the point when the economy stopped outright shrinking and began growing again. But the subsequent period of modest expansion has been marked by job cuts, uncertainty and a gradual erosion of financial security for many Americans. These conditions are expected to remain pronounced for a long time to come.

U.S. employers cut 529,973 jobs in 2010, according to the outplacement company Challenger, Gray & Christmas. In 2011, that number rose to 606,082. At the same time, wages and benefits barely grew, with the high jobless rate giving employers little incentive to pay workers more. Today, there are still nearly 13 million Americans looking for work.

It’s not that life has gotten much better for those with a job either. All together, median household incomes have now fallen more in the recovery than they did during the recession.

So, the Education Week report about improved high school graduation rates is welcome news.

Here is the press release about the Education Week report:


CONTACT: Carrie Matthews, (301) 280-3190,

National Graduation Rate Keeps Climbing; 1.1 Million Students Still Fail to Earn Diplomas

Report Examines Challenges Facing Latino Students; Identifies Promising Strategies and Districts Beating the Odds 

Individualized Graduation Reports Issued for All 50 States and D.C. 

WASHINGTON—June 7, 2012—A new national report from Education Week and the Editorial Projects in Education (EPE) Research Center finds that the nation’s graduation rate has posted a solid gain for the second straight year, following a period of declines and stagnation. Amid this continuing turnaround, the nation’s graduation rate has risen to 73 percent, the highest level of high school completion since the late 1970s. The report shows that the nation’s public schools will generate about 90,000 fewer dropouts than the previous year. Nationwide improvements were driven, in large part, by impressive gains among Latino students.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that the educational and economic future of the nation will hinge on our ability to better serve the nation’s large and growing Latino population, which faces unique challenges when it comes to success in high school and the transition to college and career,” said Christopher B. Swanson, Vice President of Editorial Projects in Education, the nonprofit organization that publishes Education Week. “Given what’s at stake, it is heartening to see that graduation rates for Latinos are improving faster than for any other group of students.”

The nation’s 12.1 million Latino schoolchildren encounter significant barriers on the road to educational success: language challenges, poverty, lagging achievement, low rates of high school and college completion, and, more recently, a wave of state laws targeting illegal immigrants that have put additional strain on Hispanic students, families, and communities. The 2012 edition of Diplomas CountTrailing Behind, Moving Forward: Latino Students in U.S. Schools—takes a closer look at the state of schooling for this population of students, the challenges they face, and the lessons learned from some of the schools, districts, organizations, and communities that work closely with Latino students.

The report—part of an ongoing project conducted by the Bethesda, Md.-based Editorial Projects in Education—also tracks graduation policies for all 50 states and the District of Columbia and presents an updated analysis of graduation patterns for the nation, states, and the country’s 50 largest school systems. The new analysis focuses on the class of 2009, the most recent year for which data are available.


The national public school graduation rate for the class of 2009 reached 73.4 percent, an increase of 1.7 points from the previous year. Much of this improvement can be attributed to a rapid 5.5 point rise in graduation rates among Latinos and a 1.7 point gain for African-Americans. These increases more than offset modest drops in graduation rates for Asian-American and Native American students. Rates for white students remained largely unchanged. Diplomas Count 2012

The class of 2009 marked the end of a decade—punctuated by periods of sluggish growth and some troubling reversals—during which the nation’s graduation rate rose by more than 7 percentage points. These improvements have been widespread. Forty-four states have posted gains ranging from a fraction of a point to more than 20 points. All major demographic groups have also improved, with the drive toward higher graduation rates led by African-Americans and Latinos, both of which have posted improvements of 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

While such signs of progress are reason for encouragement, that optimism is tempered by the reality that far too many young people are still failing to complete a high school education. Diplomas Count projects that 1.1 million students from this year’s high school class will not graduate with a diploma. That amounts to 6,000 students lost each school day, or one student every 29 seconds.


Because the Latino graduation rate, at 63 percent, lags substantially behind the U.S. average, this group makes up a disproportionate number of the students who do not finish high school. Of the 1.1 million members of the class of 2012 that we project will fail to graduate with a diploma, about 310,000 (or 27 percent) will be Latinos. Two states—California and Texas—will produce half the nation’s Hispanic dropouts.

The educational experiences of Latino students are largely reflected in—if not directly driven by—the characteristics of the communities in which they live and the school systems by which they are served. Latinos are much more likely than whites to attend districts that are large and highly urbanized, that serve high proportions of English-language learners, and that struggle with high levels of poverty and racial and socioeconomic segregation. Yet some schools, districts, and communities—including those profiled in the report—have demonstrated records of success serving diverse Latino populations.

In a special analysis conducted for Diplomas Count 2012, the EPE Research Center identified a nationwide group of large, majority-Hispanic districts that are beating odds when it comes to graduation rates. Topping the list is California’s Lompoc Unified School District, which graduated 89 percent of its Latino students, compared with an expected rate of 67 percent. Three other districts “overachieved” by at least 15 percentage points: the Ceres Unified and Merced Union districts in California and Arizona’s Yuma Union High School District. High-performing systems outside the West and Southwest included those serving Providence, R.I., and Yonkers, N.Y.


 The full Diplomas Count 2012 report and interactive tools:

 State Graduation Briefs for the 50 states and the District of Columbia featuring detailed data on current graduation rates and trends over time, definitions of college and work readiness, and state requirements for earning a high school diploma:

 The public release event for Diplomas Count 2012 will be streamed live in a simulcast from Washington, D.C. The webcast will be available at 10 a.m., EDT, on June 8 on

 EdWeek Maps, a powerful online database, lets users access graduation rates and other information for every school system in the nation and easily compare district, state, and national figures at

# # #

The EPE Research Center is the research division of the Bethesda, Md.-based nonprofit Editorial Projects in Education. It conducts policy surveys, collects data, and performs analyses that appear in the annual Quality Counts, Technology Counts, and Diplomas Count reports. The center also conducts independent research studies and maintains the Education Counts and EdWeek Maps online data resources. The EPE Research Center is on the Web at

In Is mandating 18 as the dropout age the answer? Moi said:

History is a race between education and catastrophe.

H. G. Wells

This world is in a period of dislocation and upheaval as great as the period of dislocation which ushered in the “industrial revolution.” The phrase “new, new thing” comes from a book by Michael Lewis about innovation in Silicon Valley. This historical period is between “new, new things” as the economy hopes that some new innovator will harness “green technology” and make it commercially viable as the economy needs the jump that only a “new, new thing” will give it. Peter S. Goodman has a fascinating article in the New York Times, Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs Unless, children are given a meaningful education which provides them with basic skills to adapt to a changing environment, the education system is producing a permanent underclass which will not be able to participate in the next “new, new thing.” The U.S. Department of Education has issued the following Press Release which describes the new method for calculating graduation rates.

Henry M. Levin and Cecilia E. Rouse opine in their New York Times opinion piece, The True Cost of High School Dropouts:

If we could reduce the current number of dropouts by just half, we would yield almost 700,000 new graduates a year, and it would more than pay for itself. Studies show that the typical high school graduate will obtain higher employment and earnings — an astonishing 50 percent to 100 percent increase in lifetime income — and will be less likely to draw on public money for health care and welfare and less likely to be involved in the criminal justice system. Further, because of the increased income, the typical graduate will contribute more in tax revenues over his lifetime than if he’d dropped out.

When the costs of investment to produce a new graduate are taken into account, there is a return of $1.45 to $3.55 for every dollar of investment, depending upon the educational intervention strategy. Under this estimate, each new graduate confers a net benefit to taxpayers of about $127,000 over the graduate’s lifetime. This is a benefit to the public of nearly $90 billion for each year of success in reducing the number of high school dropouts by 700,000 — or something close to $1 trillion after 11 years. That’s real money — and a reason both liberals and conservatives should rally behind dropout prevention as an element of economic recovery, leaving aside the ethical dimensions of educating our young people….

Proven educational strategies to increase high school completion, like high-quality preschool, provide returns to the taxpayer that are as much as three and a half times their cost. Investing our public dollars wisely to reduce the number of high school dropouts must be a central part of any strategy to raise long-run economic growth, reduce inequality and return fiscal health to our federal, state and local governments.                                                                       

In order to compete internationally, the U.S. must have an educated workforce and high school is the first step for college and additional vocational training.                                              


Is there a ‘model minority’ ??                                                                       

Title IX also mandates access to education for pregnant students              

Helping at-risk children start a home library                                            

Research papers: Student Motivation: An Overlooked Piece of School Reform                                 

Study: When teachers overcompensate for prejudice                         

A baby changes everything: Helping parents finish school                     

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)

28 Jun

In The International Baccalaureate program and vocational students, moi said this:

There is an “arms race” going on in American Education. More people are asking whether college is the right choice for many. The U.S. has de-emphasized high quality vocational and technical training in the rush to increase the number of students who proceed to college in pursuit of a B.A. Often a graduate degree follows. The Harvard paper, Pathways to Prosperity argues for more high quality vocational and technical opportunities:

The implication of this work is that a focus on college readiness alone does not equip young people with all of the skills and abilities they will need in the workplace, or to successfully complete the transition from adolescence to adulthood. This was highlighted in a 2008 report published by Child Trends, which compared research on the competencies required for college readiness, workplace readiness and healthy youth development. The report found significant overlaps. High personal expectations, self-management, critical thinking, and academic achievement are viewed as highly important for success in all three areas. But the report also uncovered some striking differences. For instance: while career planning, previous work experience, decision making, listening skills, integrity, and creativity are all considered vital in the workplace, they hardly figure in college readiness.

There is a reluctance to promote vocational opportunities in the U.S. because the is a fear of tracking individuals into vocational training and denying certain groups access to a college education. The compromise could be a combination of both quality technical training with a solid academic foundation. Individuals may have a series of careers over the course of a career and a solid foundation which provides a degree of flexibility is desired for survival in the future. See, Why go to college?

Jay Mathews is writing in the Washington Post article, Trying to save vocational education about the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC). Here is a description of the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC):

What is the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)?

The IBCC incorporates the educational principles, vision and learner profile of the IB into a unique offering that specifically addresses the needs of students who wish to engage in career-related education. The IBCC encourages these students to benefit from elements of an IB education, through a selection of two or more Diploma Programme courses in addition to a unique IBCC core, comprised of an approaches to learning (ATL) course, a reflective project, language development and community and service.

This new qualification is designed to provide a “value added” educational offering to schools that already offer the IB Diploma Programme and are also delivering career-related courses to their students.

The IBCC enables schools to widen participation to an IB education. Schools retain the ability to choose the career-related courses that are most suited to local conditions and the needs of their students. Schools gain the added flexibility in direct curriculum development as well as the IBCC core to create an educational pathway that puts a strong focus on individual student needs

The IBCC enables students to:

  • develop a broad range of career-related competencies and to deepen their understanding in general areas of knowledge
  • prepare for effective participation in an ever-changing world of work
  • foster the attributes of the learner profile allowing students to become true lifelong learners willing to consider new perspectives
  • engage in learning that makes a positive difference to future lives
  • become a self confident person ready for life in the 21st century.

Download the PDF IBCC flyer 2011 [PDF, 1.49MB – opens in a new window]

Here are some FAQs about the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC):


What is a ‘career-related education’?

Career-related qualifications use different terminology in different parts of the world. They can be described as vocational, professional or technical qualifications and there will be other definitions in different local or national systems.

How does the IBCC prepare a student for the future?

The IBCC prepares students for flexibility and mobility in a range of employment opportunities as well as continuing lifelong learning.

What are the aims of the IBCC?

The IBCC has four aims.
A) Providing a more inclusive provision for students aged 16-19,
B) Responding to the IB’s mission statement and extending the influence of international education, C) Filling a gap in international education,
D) Reducing the ‘academic versus vocational’ divide.

What do students receive on completion of the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)?

If completed successfully, students will receive From the IB the IB career-related Certificate (IBCC) as well as a statement of results. Additionally they will receive a certificate from the awarding body of the career-related qualification

Why should students choose the IB Career-related Certificate (IBCC)?

The IBCC provides an opportunity for more students to benefit from an IB education. The approach of blending local and international elements is an excellent solution to allow local economic, cultural and educational choices to be made according to the local or national context. Similarly, such a flexible framework will create a dynamic network of internationally minded schools sharing a vocabulary and educational aims for lifelong learning and responsible citizenship, collaborating to develop a truly international educational experience for their students.

What are the advantages to University entry of doing IBCC rather than two IB Diploma Programme courses?

The IBCC is a holistic qualification framework in its own right and the incorporation of the IBCC core gives greater overall value to the student. The IB expects this to be reflected in a slightly higher credit or tariff for the whole IBCC rather than two DP certificates alone. The value to the student in application to further or higher education is the linkage with a career-related qualification which, if passed to an appropriate standard or grade, will add further credit or tariff for the student’s application to the further learning of his/her choice.

Is the IBCC recognized by universities?

The IBCC has been accredited by the UK education regulator (Ofqual) for accreditation. The IB will consult with schools in every country on the requirements of their national education framework and apply for accreditation or approval as required.

What sort of school can offer the IBCC?

Any IB World School authorized to offer the Diploma Programme can apply to offer the IBCC. The IBCC is likely to be very popular in where there is usually a history of offering a career-related course.

There shouldn’t be a one size fits all in education and parents should be honest about what education options will work for a particular child. Even children from the same family may find that different education options will work for each child.


Vocational Education Myths and Realities

Vocational Education in the United States, The Early 1990s


The International Baccalaureate program as a way to save struggling schools

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative

27 Jun

In Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure, moi said:

One of the causalities of the decline and death of newspapers is the decline in investigative journalism. When the Seattle PI was still a print publication in 2001, they published a series of articles about discipline in the Seattle Public Schools. At that time, the list of behaviors included:

            1.   Disruptive conduct

      2.   Fighting

      3.   Disobedience

      4. .Assault

      5. Rule-breaking

      6. Alcohol/drugs

      7. Theft

      8. Trespass

      9.   Smoking

      10. Weapons

When this report was written, African American students were suspended at a higher rate than other students. The great thing about this piece of journalism was the reporters examined assumptions about what could be causing the disparity in expulsions. The assumptions about why African American students are disciplined and the statistical reality often do not provide clear-cut answers. The Seattle PI followed the report with a 2006 Update and the disparity issue remained. Perhaps, Dr. Bill Cosby is on to something with his crusade to ask tough questions about whether a “hip hop” culture is conducive to promoting success values in a population who must survive in the dominant culture. Debates about what cultural norms are healthy and should prevail are not useful to a child who is facing a suspension or expulsion and who must deal with that reality. It is imperative that children stay in school and receive a diploma or receive sufficient skills to allow them to prepare for a GED. If a child is facing a suspension or expulsion, the parent or guardian has to advocate for the child and the future placement and follow-up treatment for the child. The hard questions about placement in an education setting center on student behavior and whether the behavior of the individual child is so disruptive that the child must be removed from the school either for a period of time or permanently.

Jane Ellen Stevens has written two great Huffington Post articles. In the first article, Trauma-Sensitive Schools Are Better Schools, Stevens writes:

The kid was ready. Ready, man! For an anger blast to his face…”How could you do that?” “What’s wrong with you?”… and for the big boot out of school. But he was NOT ready for kindness. The armor-plated defenses melt like ice under a blowtorch and the words pour out: “My dad’s an alcoholic. He’s promised me things my whole life and never keeps those promises.” The waterfall of words that go deep into his home life, which is no piece of breeze, end with this sentence: “I shouldn’t have blown up at the teacher.”


And then he goes back to the teacher and apologizes. Without prompting from Sporleder.

“The kid still got a consequence,” explains Sporleder — but he wasn’t sent home, a place where there wasn’t anyone who cares much about what he does or doesn’t do. He went in-school suspension, a quiet, comforting room where he can talk with the attending teacher, catch up on his homework, or just sit and think about how maybe he could do things differently next time.

Before the words “namby-pamby”, “weenie”, or “not the way they did things in my day” start flowing across your lips, take a look at these numbers:

2009-2010 (Before new approach)
• 798 suspensions (days students were out of school)
• 50 expulsions

2010-2011 (After new approach)
• 135 suspensions (days students were out of school)
• 30 expulsions

“It sounds simple,” says Sporleder about the new approach. “Just by asking kids what’s going on with them, they just started talking. It made a believer out of me right away.”

Trauma-sensitive schools. Trauma-informed classrooms. Compassionate schools. Safe and supportive schools. All different names to describe a movement that’s taking shape and gaining momentum across the country. And it all boils down to this: Kids who are experiencing the toxic stress of severe and chronic trauma just can’t learn. It’s physiologically impossible.

These kids express their toxic stress by dropping the F-bomb, skipping school, or being the “unmotivated” child, head down on the desk or staring into space. In other words, they’re having typical stress reactions: fight, flight or freeze.
In trauma-sensitive schools, teachers don’t punish a kid for “bad” behavior — they don’t want to traumatize an already traumatized child. They dig deeper to help a child feel safe so that she or he can move out of stress mode, and learn again….

What’s severe trauma? We’re not talking falling on a playground and breaking a finger here. This trauma is gut-wrenching, life-bending and mind-warping: Living with an alcoholic parent or a parent diagnosed with depression or other mental illness. Witnessing a mother being abused (physically or verbally). Being physically, sexually or verbally abused. Losing a parent to abandonment or divorce. Homelessness. Being bullied. You can probably name a few others.

Since at least 2005, a few dozen individual schools across the U.S. have adopted some type of trauma-sensitive approach. But the centers of gravity for most of the action are in Massachusetts and Washington. These two states lead the way in taking a district-wide approach to integrating trauma-informed practices, with an eye to state-wide adoption.

Without a school-wide approach, “it’s very hard to address the role that trauma is playing in learning,” says Susan Cole, director of the Trauma an Learning Policy Initiative, a joint project of Harvard Law School and Massachusetts Advocates for Children. Cole is co-author of a seminal book: Helping Traumatized Children Learn, sometimes known as “The Purple Book.”

With a school-wide strategy, trauma-sensitive approaches are woven into the school’s daily activities: the classroom, the cafeteria, the halls, buses, the playground. “This enables children to feel academically, socially, emotionally and physically safe wherever they go in the school. And when children feel safe, they can calm down and learn,” says Cole. “The district needs to support the individual school to do this work. With the district on board, principals can have the latitude to put this issue on the front burner, where it belongs.”

See, Trauma-Sensitive Schools Are Better Schools, Part Two

Massachusetts Advocates for Children describes the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative:

Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative
Mission The Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative’s (TLPI) mission is to ensure that children traumatized by exposure to family violence and other adverse childhood experiences succeed in school.  To accomplish this mission, TLPI engages in a host of advocacy strategies including:  legislative advocacy, administrative advocacy, coalition building, outreach and education, research and report writing, and limited individual case representation in special education where a child’s traumatic experiences are interfacing with his or her disabilities.Genesis

This cutting-edge and vital contributor to education reform in the state had its roots in the expulsion crisis in the mid-1990’s. MAC noticed in calls from parents a pattern of violence in the lives of many of the children who had been expelled or suspended from school. Working together with parents and experts across the disciplines of education, psychology, law, and neurobiology, MAC/CLSP organized the Task Force on Children Affected by Domestic Violence, which developed five working papers on the impact of domestic violence on education, family law and other matters. These papers laid the foundation for later advocacy and led to the development of TLPI.

In 2000, MAC joined in partnership with Lesley University’s Center on Special Education to hold the first ever conference on the impact of trauma on learning. From that point the work on trauma and learning gained momentum as MAC worked with an interdisciplinary group of psychologists, educators, and attorneys to draft what would later be published as Helping Traumatized Children Learn (HTCL).

In 2004, MAC and Harvard Law School jointly recognized the importance of this work and entered into a formal partnership called the Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative (TLPI). In addition to advocacy at the state and national levels, TLPI teaches Harvard’s law students MAC’s signature multi-strategic approach to systemic change, harnessing their talents to represent individual families and participate in this powerful policy agenda.

Ongoing Activities

  • Advocating for laws, regulations, policies, and funding streams to enable schools to create trauma-sensitive environments (including those related to school reform, anti-bullying, dropout prevention, and collaboration between schools and mental health);
  • Improving trauma sensitive approaches to the needs of individual children at school in both regular and special education;
  • Engaging in a public education campaign to educate policymakers, educators, administrators, health and mental health providers and parents on the impact of trauma on learning and the need for schoolwide approaches to address the need; and
  • Working with researchers to foster a clearer understanding of evidenced–based approaches that schools can use to ensure the success of traumatized children. 


This project has grown to become an important force in Massachusetts education reform efforts. Through a combination of printed copies and internet downloads, it has disseminated more than 49,000 copies of its ground-breaking publication. It has trained over 10,000 educators, policymakers, parents and others on the impact of trauma on learning.  TLPI also led advocacy efforts to pass MGL c. 69, Section 1N, which established a grant program to create “trauma-sensitive schools.”  The “Flexible Framework” for creating safe and supportive whole-school environments proposed in HTCL has served as a basis for  the work of the Schools and Behavioral Health Task Force (created pursuant to Section 19 of the Children’s Mental Health Law).  It has also influenced the Model Bullying Prevention and Intervention Plan, developed by DESE pursuant to Chapter 92 of the Acts of 2010 (“An Act Relative to Bullying”), and the Essential Conditions for School Effectiveness developed by DESE pursuant to Chapter 12 of the Acts of 2010 (“An Act Relative to the Achievement Gap”).  

For further information about Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, send us an email.

Download or Purchase Helping Traumatized Children Learn


Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials.

Additionally, Family First Aid discusses the education questions a parent or guardian should ask when their child has been permanently excluded from a school setting because of behavior problems.

What options are there now that your teen has been expelled?

– Home School? Yes, your teen may get the academics, the grades, and the knowledge. But he will not learn to interact with others in a positive manner, and the original problem still exists.

– Alternative School? The focus at an alternative school is to finish the coursework for graduation. There is no focus on the original problem of why the student could not succeed socially in the regular school setting and again, the original problem still exists.

– Specialty School? There are several different kinds of specialty schools and programs. There are wilderness programs “boot camps” military schools, and religious schools. Some include academics and some do not. Some programs are an intense “wake up call” that last about a month, and others are long term. Some focus only on the child and some involve the entire family in the healing process.

If your child has a behavior disorder, one month of intense “wake up” won’t change anything. It also won’t change the peer group he has or his involvement with drugs and/or weapons.

The focus at this point should be how best to address the behavior issues that resulted in the disciplinary action. It is important to contact the district to find out what types of resources are available to assist the student in overcoming their challenges. Many children have behavior problems because they are not in the correct education placement. Often, moving the child to a different education setting is the beginning of dealing with the challenges they face.


Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?


An explosion of ‘baby mamas’                           

Autism and children of color                             

Sometimes schools must help children grieve

Ohio State University study: Characteristics of kids who are bullies

U.S. Education Dept. Civil Rights Office releases report on racial disparity in school retention                              

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Study: Early mastery of fractions is a predictor of math success

26 Jun

Joy Resmovits has an interesting article at Huffington Post. In U.S. Students’ Low Math Test Proficiency Could Have Consequences For GDP Resmovits reports:

U.S. students rank poorly in proficiency on both domestic and international math exams, a problem that could cost the country $75 trillion over 80 years, according to a new study.

U.S. students fall behind 31 countries in math proficiency and behind 16 countries in reading proficiency, according to the report released Wednesday, titled “Globally Challenged: Are U.S. Students Ready to Compete?

Resmovits is reporting about the report, Globally Challenged: Are U. S. Students Ready to Compete? The latest on each state’s international standing in math and reading by Paul E. Peterson, Ludger Woessmann, Eric A. Hanushek and Carlos X. Lastra-Anadón. Here is a portion of the Executive Summary:

Proficiency in Mathematics

U.S. students in the Class of 2011, with a 32 percent proficiency rate in mathematics, came in 32nd among the nations that participated in PISA. Although performance levels among the countries ranked 23rd to 31st are not significantly different from that of the United States, 22 countries do significantly outperform the United States in the share of students reaching the proficient level in math. In six countries plus Shanghai and Hong Kong, a majority of students performed at the proficient level, while in the United States less than one-third did. For example, 58 percent of Korean students and 56 percent of Finnish students were proficient. Other countries in which a majority—or near majority—of students performed at or above the proficient level included Switzerland, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands. Many other nations also had math proficiency rates well above that of the United States, including Germany (45 percent), Australia (44 percent), and France (39 percent). Shanghai topped the list with a 75 percent math proficiency rate, well over twice the 32 percent rate of the United States. However, Shanghai students are from a prosperous metropolitan area within China, with over three times the GDP per capita of the rest of that country, so their performance is more appropriately compared to Massachusetts and Minnesota, which are similarly favored and are the top performers among the U.S. states. When this comparison is made, Shanghai still performs at a distinctly higher level. Only a little more than half (51 percent) of Massachusetts students are proficient in math, while Minnesota, the runner-up state, has a math proficiency rate of just 43 percent. Only four additional states—Vermont, North Dakota, New Jersey, and Kansas—have a math proficiency rate above 40 percent. Some of the country’s largest and richest states score below the average for the United States as a whole, including New York (30 percent), Missouri (30 percent), Michigan (29 percent), Florida (27 percent), and California (24 percent)….

Performance of U.S. Ethnic and Racial Groups

The percentage proficient in the United States varies considerably across students from different racial and ethnic backgrounds. While 42 percent of white students were identified as proficient in math, only 11 percent of African American students, 15 percent of Hispanic students, and 16 percent of Native Americans were so identified. Fifty percent of students with an ethnic background from Asia and the Pacific Islands, however, were proficient in math. In reading, 40 percent of white students and 41 percent of those from Asia and the Pacific Islands were identified as proficient. Only 13 percent of African American students, 5 percent of Hispanic students, and 18 percent of Native American students were so identified….

Here is the citation:

Mary Niederberger of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writes in the article, Formula written for math success:

Mastery of fractions and early division is a predictor of students’ later success with algebra and other higher-level mathematics, based on a study done by a team of researchers led by a Carnegie Mellon University professor.

That means more effective teaching of the concepts is needed to improve math scores among U.S. high school students, which have remained stagnant for more than 30 years….

The study said a likely reason for U.S. students’ weakness in fractions and division could be linked to their teachers’ “lack of a firm conceptual understanding” of the concepts, citing several other studies in which many American teachers were unable to explain the reasons behind mathematical solutions, while most teachers in Japan and China were able to offer two or three explanations.


Early Predictors of High School Mathematics Achievement

  1. Robert S. Siegler1,
  2. Greg J. Duncan2,
  3. Pamela E. Davis-Kean3,4,
  4. Kathryn Duckworth5,
  5. Amy Claessens6,
  6. Mimi Engel7,
  7. Maria Ines Susperreguy3,4 and
  8. Meichu Chen4Abstract

Identifying the types of mathematics content knowledge that are most predictive of students’ long-term learning is essential for improving both theories of mathematical development and mathematics education. To identify these types of knowledge, we examined long-term predictors of high school students’ knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement. Analyses of large, nationally representative, longitudinal data sets from the United States and the United Kingdom revealed that elementary school students’ knowledge of fractions and of division uniquely predicts those students’ knowledge of algebra and overall mathematics achievement in high school, 5 or 6 years later, even after statistically controlling for other types of mathematical knowledge, general intellectual ability, working memory, and family income and education. Implications of these findings for understanding and improving mathematics learning are discussed.

  1. Published online before print June 14, 2012, doi: 10.1177/0956797612440101 Psychological Science June 14, 2012 0956797612440101
  1. » AbstractFree
  2. Full Text
  3. Full Text (PDF)
  4. Supplemental Material

Math is important for a number of reasons.

Michigan State University’s Office of Supportive Services succinctly states why math is important:

Why is math important?

All four year Universities have a math requirement

Math improves your skills:

  • Critical Thinking Skills
  • Deductive Logic and Reasoning Skills
  • Problem Solving Skills

A good knowledge of math and statistics can expand your career options

Physical Sciences – Chemistry, Engineering, Physics

Life and Health Sciences – Biology, Psychology, Pharmacy, Nursing, Optometry

Social Sciences – Anthropology, Communications, Economics, Linquistics, Education, Geography

Technical Sciences – Computer Science, Networking, Software Development

Business and Commerce

Actuarial Sciences


In Perhaps the biggest math challenge is how to teach math, moi said:

There will continue to be battles between those who favor a more traditional education and those who are open to the latest education fad. These battles will be fought out in school board meetings, PTSAs, and the courts.

There is one way to, as Susan Powder says, “Stop the Insanity.” Genuine school choice allows parents or guardians to select the best educational setting for their child. Many policy wonks would like to believe that only one type of family seeks genuine school choice, the right wing wacko who makes regular visits on the “tea party” circuit. That is not true. Many parents favor a back-to-the basics traditional approach to education.

A one-size-fits-all approach does not work in education

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Teachers running schools

25 Jun

In an Education Week article, Union Victory in LA Schools Showdown Ups Ante, Lesli A. Maxwell is reporting.

In Los Angeles, where teacher groups and charter schools engaged in a head-to-head competition to operate schools in the sprawling urban district, teachers have emerged—to the surprise of many observers—as the clear winners in the latest showdown.

With the management of 12 existing schools, all of them low-performing, and 18 new campuses up for grabs under the city’s “public school choice” policy approved last summer, the Los Angeles Unified Board of Education late last month voted in favor of teacher-led proposals in all but six cases. More than 40,000 students will attend the newly managed schools this fall.

Charters, which many had expected to be the dominant players, were largely left out, including three of the city’s most successful operators, whose proposals to run new schools were endorsed by Superintendent Ramon C. Cortines. But in his full slate of recommendations to board members on which groups should manage the schools, Mr. Cortines also favored some internal proposals over external ones. …

Different forms of schools run by teachers are beginning to evolve. See, School teachers in charge? Why some schools are forgoing principals.

Melissa Bailey reports in the New Haven Independent article which was posted at Huffington Post, High School In The Community, New Haven Turnaround School, To Be Run By Teachers, Union:

New Haven’s turning one of its low-performing schools over to its teachers and the teachers’ union in an experiment that shatters traditional definitions of American school reform.

Officials announced the news at a Wednesday afternoon press conference at High School in the Community (HSC).

Meanwhile, news swirled around the school as teachers found out their fate. All 31 teachers at the school had to reapply for their jobs. On Wednesday, some 21 teachers won the right to stay; the rest were guaranteed jobs elsewhere within the district.

Moods were mixed around the hallways.

A crew of younger teachers said they’re looking forward to the flexibility to write their own curricula and continue working as a team.

Veteran calculus teacher Rob Orciuch refused to reapply for his job: After 32 years of teaching, he said, “I have to sit and beg for my job? I’m not going to take it.” He’ll be sent to work at another school.

The changes are taking place as HSC becomes New Haven’s sixth “turnaround” school. (One, Hill Central, is technically a federally sanctioned “turnaround,” not part of the city plan.) As part of the city’s school reform drive, New Haven has designated some lower-performing schools as “turnarounds” in order almost to start from scratch and try new ideas. School leaders can change strict work rules that apply at traditional schools.

Labor unions nationally have cast a wary eye on such experiments, including those that turn control to charter organizations (as New Haven did with Roberto Clemente Academy). In fact, the city’s local teachers union president, Dave Cicarella, had previously asked the city to take a “time out” this year from naming new turnarounds.

However, in the case of HSC, the city is turning management of the school over to the union itself, the New Haven Federation of Teachers.

The move reflects New Haven’s effort to include teachers and their union in school reform experiments rather than fight with them. The union’s national parent, the American Federation of Teachers, played a direct role in striking a landmark 2009 labor contract with the city that allowed for changes like a new evaluation system for instructors and administrators and a streamlined method for getting rid of failing teachers. Both city leaders and national AFT President Randi Weingarten have tried to make New Haven an example of how school systems and unions can work together rather than fight each other to change and improve public education.                                          

Winnie Hu’s New York Times article, In a New Role, Teachers Move to Run Schools discusses some of the challenges of schools run by teachers:

But some educators and parents question whether such schools are the solution for urban districts, which typically have large concentrations of poor students and struggle with low test scores and discipline problems.

They say that most teachers have neither the time nor the expertise to deal with the inner workings of a school, like paying bills, conducting fire drills and refereeing faculty disputes.

“Ever try to plan a vacation with a large extended family? That’s what it’s going to be like,” said Michael J. Petrilli, a vice president of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, an education policy group in Washington. “It’s a good idea in theory, but there are just a handful of teachers who can pull it off….”

Tim McDonald, an associate with Education Evolving, a policy group in St. Paul that supports teacher-led schools, said studies showed that when teachers were given control — much like doctors or lawyers running their own practices — schools had higher morale, less turnover, more efficient decision-making and greater motivation to improve.

Still, Mr. McDonald was skeptical that a truly collaborative model could succeed widely in school districts, unless it was somehow freed from the traditional bureaucracy.

“You’re trying to run an upside-down pyramid in a pyramid structure,” he said. “There is so much momentum against being completely different in most districts.”

James H. Lytle, an education professor at the University of Pennsylvania who teaches a course on urban school reform to Teach for America teachers, said the test of school leaders was whether they could make a school work smoothly.

Teachers, he said, “want the textbooks to be there and the students to come on time.”

“The question is whether teachers have the patience to do the ‘adminis-trivia,’ ” said Dr. Lytle, a former principal and superintendent in Philadelphia and Trenton.

Still another idea is put forth by Andrew J. Rotherham in the Time article, Can Parents Take Over Schools?

The point is, there is no magic bullet or “Holy Grail” in education. There is what works to produce academic achievement in a given population of children.


Teacher Cooperatives                                                                                

Can Teachers Run Their Own Schools?                                                              

Can Teachers Run Schools?                                                        

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Protecting your child from predators

24 Jun

Frequently there are reports in the media that some adult occupying a position of trust has abused that trust and inappropriately had contact with a minor child. Adults accused of inappropriate contact come from all social strata, religions, races, and occupations. Bonnie Rochman writes in the Time article, After the Sandusky Verdict, Lessons for Parents about the predator next door.

It goes without saying that conscientious parents would go to great lengths to spare their children from such experiences. And experts say the Sandusky trial revealed many valuable lessons for parents looking to do just that.

Lesson No. 1: One not-so-obvious insight? Don’t tell secrets…. When children are being molested, the perpetrator tells them, ‘This is a secret. Don’t tell anybody.’ So we encourage parents to not include kids in secrets. Talk instead in terms of surprises.”

Lesson No. 2: Be leery of any adult who seems smitten with your kid. Child molesters are savvy; they often prey on vulnerable kids — poor children, or those whose parents aren’t often around….

As a parent who has gone through the aftermath of sexual abuse and studied a lot about pedophile tactics, the allegations against Jerry Sandusky are a classic case of child sexual predator and pedophile grooming. The prosecution has done well in explaining the consistent and predictable grooming process that Jerry Sandusky employed — from building trust with his victims, to currying favor and control by buying them gifts and giving them access to the Penn State football program, and then forcing them to participate in sex acts and then remain quiet about it.

Jerry Sandusky groomed his victims so well that some of them have kept in touch with him as recently as two years ago. Many from the defense are asking why would they, in fact, do such a thing if it were true that Jerry Sandusky had sexually abused them. But that is how predators work. They manipulate children and control them by bribing, brainwashing, threatening, controlling and embarrassing them.Lesson No. 3: Perhaps most important is simply paying attention to your kids’ rhythms and learning to recognize potential signs of abuse: changes in mood, behavior or school performance and reluctance to participate in activities.

Lesson No. 4: It’s never too early to start teaching your kids about what kinds of touches are appropriate….

Lesson No. 5: Keep the conversation going as kids become teens. It’s a mistake to assume that most children will readily tell a grown-up they’ve been sexually assaulted….

Lesson No. 6: Listen when kids talk. One of Sandusky’s victims said he’d told guidance counselors that he’d been abused but he wasn’t believed….

If a child is involved, the following activities are a few examples considered to be sexual abuse:

· Touching of a child’s private parts

· A child touching someone else’s genitals

· Sexual intercourse

· Obscene phone calls

· Watching sexual activity

Keep in mind these examples do not constitute a legal definition of sexual abuse. Each state defines what constitutes sexual abuse in that state. Generally, sexual abuse occurs when an adult person makes sexual contact with a child or there is forced sexual contact by a peer of the child.

Questions to Ask Childcare Providers and Caregivers

The Attorney General of the State of Hawaii has an excellent resource about questions to ask a care provider. Hawaii Attorney General Among their suggestions are:

While not a guarantee against acts of sexual exploitation being committed, it is a good idea to select a licensed facility that conducts criminal history- background checks on its employees and volunteers. When you have chosen a daycare provider, the best way to get to know the staff and observe their behavior firsthand is to involve yourself in some way in the activities of the center by volunteering to assist on field trips or for special events.

Visit prospective daycare centers, take a tour, and interview the daycare staff while personally observing their interaction with your children and the other children. Look for mature and responsible people who listen and respond well to your children and appear relaxed and happy with them. Also arrange to meet with other individuals who may have contact with your child such as bus drivers, janitors, and relatives of the daycare personnel. Visit unannounced. When you have a list of possible daycare centers, carefully check their references. Contact local law enforcement, county licensing agencies, and the department of social services to determine if any reports have been made about the daycare provider. Check state sex-offender registries, which are generally accessible through your state law enforcement agency.

Be suspicious of any care provider that will not allow you to drop in unannounced and will not allow you unlimited access to the facility.

What is a Criminal Background Check?

The legal definition of a “criminal background check” focuses upon the review of public records.  Legal Definition of Criminal Background Check

A criminal history background information check is the review of any and all records containing any information collected and stored in the criminal record repository of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state Department of Public Safety, or any other repository of criminal history records, involving a pending arrest or conviction by a criminal justice agency, including, but not limited to, child abuse crime information, conviction record information, fingerprint cards, correctional induction and release information, identifiable descriptions and notations of convictions; provided, however, dissemination of such information is not forbidden by order of any court of competent jurisdiction or by federal law. Criminal history background information generally does not include any analytical records or investigative reports that contain criminal intelligence information or criminal investigation information….

Parents should be aware of any criminal record, but they should focus on crimes of violence and sexual crimes like rape. Is the person a known registered sex offender?

The US Department of State describes the different ways that an individual can demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record.State Department Criminal Records Check

LOCAL POLICE CHECK: Go to your local police department where you reside or last resided in the United States, request that the police conduct a criminal records search and provide you with a document reflecting that there is no history of a criminal record. Local police departments may require your personal appearance in order to conduct the search. Your local police department can phrase this in whatever way they deem appropriate. The document should then be authenticated for use abroad following our guidance on authentication or legalization of documents.

FBI RECORDS CHECK: The Criminal Justice Information Services  centralizes criminal justice information and provides accurate and timely information and services to local, state, federal, and international law enforcement agencies, the private sector, academia, and other government agencies. The subject of an identification record may obtain a copy thereof by submitting awritten request to the CJIS . The request must be accompanied by satisfactory proof of identity (consisting of name, date and place of birth, and a set of roll-inked fingerprint impressions) and a certified check or money order for the $18 processing fee. The FBI will not provide copies of arrest records to individuals other than the subject of the record. Requests should be directed to FBI CJIS Division, Attn: SCU, Mod. D-2, 1000 Custer Hollow Rd., Clarksburg, West Virginia 26306. If there is no criminal record, a report reflecting this fact is provided.

If you are interested in a criminal background check, the CASA program lists resources for each state.Casa State Background List

How to Recognize Signs of Sexual Abuse in Children

Shelia Wilkinson describes signs of sexual abuse in children. Sexual Abuse Behaviors Among the signs she tells parents to observe are:

1. Pay attention to your child’s posture. If your child suddenly has pain or difficulty sitting or walking, talk to them. Check out their bodies but be prepared that they may fight you on this. Abusers often threaten to harm the children or their families or pets and your child may be terrified.

2. Look for adult behaviors. Suddenly seductive rubbing on or around the genital area, using sexual words or adult, flirty behavior. …

3. Watch for sudden shyness or fearfulness. Refusing suddenly to change in front of others or in gym class is common. So are nightmares, bedwetting and sleeplessness….

4. Know your child’s habits. Are they suddenly eating a great deal more or less? Do they want to be alone more or never alone at all? Are they afraid or reluctant to go places they always enjoyed? Do they talk about or try running away? Daycare, school, friends’ and relatives’ homes, the nursery at church, all seem like safe places but these are the places where kids most often get abused.

5. For older children, pregnancy or contracting an STD may not be promiscuity. It may be sexual abuse. ….

6. Talk to others–discreetly. Getting to know your child’s teachers, principal, nursery workers and sitters is extremely important if you want to ensure your child’s safety.

7. Listen to your child. The last warning sign is the most important. If your child talks about or reports sexual abuse, believe it to be true. The evidence is very clear that this is not something that children make up…..

8. Remember to take action if you have suspicions…..

Don’t be afraid to gently ask your child about their experiences in different settings like school, daycare or recreational activities. Listen to them and any cues they provide. Abuse sometimes happens to infants and toddlers. Since an infant is too young to verbalize what is happening there are certain signs that a parent should look for. Dr. F. Felicia Ferrara’s video describes what parents should observe in infants and toddlers. Infant and Toddler Abuse Parents should look for strange rashes and an unusual fear of people as possible clues that something might be wrong.

What to do if You Suspect Your Child has been Abused or Molested

The National Child Trauma Stress Network has excellent resource material available.NationalTrauma Stress Network They suggest the following actions’ if you suspect your child has been abused:

1. Stay calm…..

2. Believe your child, and let your child know that he or she is not to blame for what happened. Praise your child for being brave and for telling about the sexual abuse.

3. Protect your child by getting him or her away from the abuser and immediately reporting the abuse to local authorities. If you are not sure who, to contact, call the ChildHelp® National Child Abuse Hotline at 1.800.4.A.CHILD (1.800.422.4453; http:// or, for immediate help, call 911.

4. Get help. In addition to getting medical care to address any physical damage your child may have suffered (including sexually transmitted diseases), it is important that your child have an opportunity to talk with a mental health professional who specializes in child sexual abuse. Therapy has been shown to successfully reduce distress in families and the effects of sexual abuse on children. Many communities have local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) that offer coordinated support and services to victims of child abuse, including sexual abuse. For a state-by-state listing of accredited CACs, visit the website of the National Children’s Alliance

5. Reassure your child that he or she is loved, accepted and an important family member. Don’t make promises you can’t keep (such as saying you won’t tell anyone about the abuse), but let your child know that you will do everything in your power to protect him or her from harm.

6. Keep your child informed about what will happen next, particularly with regard to legal actions. (For more information on helping abused children cope with the stress of dealing with the legal system, see the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s factsheet, Child Sexual Abuse: Coping with the Emotional Stress of the Legal System, available on the web.

It is not the child’s fault that he or she has been abused It is the fault of the abuser and parents must emphasize that what occurred is not the child’s fault.

What can Parents do to Prevent Their Child from being a Victim

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, parents should take the following steps. Sex Abuse Prevention

· Talk to your child about sexual abuse. If your child’s school sponsors a sexual abuse program, discuss what he learned.

· Teach your child which body parts are private (parts covered by a bathing suit) and the proper names of those parts. Let him know that his body belongs to him. Tell him to yell “no” or “stop” to anyone who may threaten him sexually.

· Listen when your child tries to tell you something, especially when it seems hard for him to talk about it. Make sure your child knows it’s OK to tell you about any attempt to molest him or touch him in a way that made him feel uncomfortable, no matter who the abuser may be. Let him know he can trust you and that you will not be angry with him if he tells you.

· Give your child enough time and attention. Weekly family meetings can be used to talk about all good and bad experiences.

· Know the adults and children with whom your child is spending time. Be careful about allowing your child to spend time alone or in out-of-the-way places with other adults or older children. Make visits to your child’s caregiver without notice. Ask your child about his visits to the caregiver or with child sitters.

· Never let your child enter a stranger’s home without a parent or trusted adult. Door-to-door fund-raising is particularly risky for unsupervised children.

· Check to see if your child’s school has an abuse prevention program for the teachers and children. If it doesn’t, start one.

· Tell someone in authority if you suspect that your child or someone else’s child is being abused.

The world can sometimes harbor dangers, but parents must be ever vigilant and always aware of their child’s world to prevent predators from robbing their child of their childhood. Hopefully, the vigilance of the parents and the community will prevent more children from an experience that will take away their childhood and sometimes can take their life.

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©

Will a three year B.A. help more students afford college?

24 Jun

In 3rd world America: College increasingly out of reach, moi said:

Moi really doesn’t know what to make of the idea of privatizing state universities.  In the recent past, government had the goal of raising the standard of living and producing the economic conditions that fostered livable wage jobs. The goal of most politicians was to create the conditions that promoted and fostered a strong middle class. Particularly, after WWII and the Korean War, with the G.I Bill, one part of that equation was the wide availability of a college education. This push produced an educated workforce and a college education was within reach, no matter one’s class or social status. This educated workforce helped drive this country’s prosperity. Now, have we lost the goal of providing educational opportunity the widest number of people possible, no matter their class or social status? This question causes moi to wonder about privatizing state universities.

Sam Dillion was writing about the prospect of privatizing public universities in the New York Times in 2005. See, At Public Universities, Warnings of Privatization In 2004, William Symonds wrote an opinion piece in Business Week about the role of public universities

Justin Pope, AP Education Writer details just how fast college costs are rising all over the country in the article, College prices up again as states slash budgets:

Average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose an additional $631 this fall, or 8.3 percent, compared with a year ago.

Nationally, the cost of a full credit load has passed $8,000, an all-time high. Throw in room and board, and the average list price for a state school now runs more than $17,000 a year, according to the twin annual reports on college costs and student aid published Wednesday by the College Board.,8599,2097835,00.html

Prospective students and families will not only have to worry about getting into college, but finding a way to pay for college. So, it comes as no surprise that reducing the time it takes to get a B.A.  is an idea that is being floated.

Mary Beth Marklein writes in the USA TODAY article, Cut college tuition by getting 4-year degree in 3 years:

Yet for all its pocketbook appeal, the three-year concept hasn’t taken off, particularly at public universities. Legislation in Rhode Island in 2009 and Washington last year encourages public universities to develop three-year options, but no programs have been proposed to date, officials in both states say. State budget challenges have pushed a University of California committee’s recommendation to a back burner, says system spokesman Steve Montiel.

At Ohio State University, which must phase in three-year degrees beginning this fall, provost Joe Alutto says a three-year degree may be “misdirected for an institution such as ours.” He told legislators last year that students who earned college credit in high school tend to add a minor or second major rather than graduate early.

Some skeptics worry about quality. “It’s as if they put students on a conveyer belt and just speed them up and spray them with a fire hose and the students catch what they can,” Southern New Hampshire University professor Marty Bradley says of models that compress four years into three. He pioneered a three-year degree on his campus in 1997 that required an overhaul of the curriculum.

Some education groups argue that resources, particularly at public institutions, should focus on students who are most at risk of dropping out. A study of 33 states by the non-profit Complete College America found that just 26% of students enrolled at public institutions earn a bachelor’s in four years; 54.3% take six years. About 2% of students earning a bachelor’s in 2007-08 did so in three years, federal data show. Hartwick’s four-year graduation rate in recent years averages about 46%.

For many students, a three year program will result in a huge savings, but there are risks for other students.

Mandee Heller Adler, Founder and Principal of International College Counselors writes in the article, 3-Year college degrees can save time and money, but is it worth it?

Some of the pros and the cons of the 3-year plan include:


• Three years give a boost for ambitious students who know what they want to study.

• It will be easier for families to afford college

• Students enter the workforce quicker and/or go on sooner for graduate study.


•  An undergraduate’s social experience could be compromised.

•  College would tilt more toward job training and away from the broad-based education that many U.S. schools offer.

• Employers may then insist on a master’s before they employ anyone and this will increase the cost to students of the future.

• Parents will pressure their students to enter a 3 year program and then students will have a miserable time, taking an overload of courses, and missing the experience of college.

•  Students should enjoy these four years of freedom.  They have the rest of their lives to work.

From my experience as a college advisor, my thought is, if you’re smart and dedicated enough to graduate in 3 years, you can figure out how to do it on your own.   AP credits, summer courses, and college credits gained during high school can be used to reach this goal.  I work with a few high school freshmen now who are accumulating college credit. Their life goals may change in the next two years but the college credit can work favorable for them no matter what college or major they enter. I know more than a few students, including my sister, who graduated in three years or less without their colleges having to create a special program.

If you have any other college admissions questions for a college counselor, I’d be happy to answer them.  Please write me here or at my personal email which can be found on my International College Counselors college counseling website.

For the article that served as a basis for these college counselor thoughts, see:                                         

There are also concerns that a three year program might not be appropriate for at-risk students.

Christina Couch  writes at in the article, Pros and cons of accelerated degree programs:

Greater risk to the at-risk

The economic reasons for shortening college tenure are strong. Not only knocking out a year of tuition, room and board — a value of anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000 — they also reduce student loan interest and help students get a jump on paying their student loans back. The problem, says Karen Gross, president of Southern Vermont College in Bennington, Vt., is that the students most economically motivated to reduce their college costs are frequently the ones who need a four-year program the most.

“Many students come into college with certain academic deficiencies. There’s a fair amount of work that has to be done just to catch them up,” she says. “There are a subgroup of students from elite high schools for whom a three-year degree would be just fine. But that’s a very small percentage.”

Certain populations of students are more at-risk than others. Students from low-income, English as a second language and first-generation college backgrounds are less likely to complete a bachelor’s degree than other students.

“If you fit into any of these vulnerable populations, it doesn’t mean that you can’t graduate,” says Gross. “It just means that you are statistically at greater risk. You need to consider that.”
Trend on campus: three-year college degrees

Increasingly, the question is whether colleges are using the resources available to them effectively.

A principal reason for the rush toward three year programs is the cost of college. Robin Wilson wrote in the Chronicle of Higher Education article, Colleges Spend Far Less on Educating Students Than They Claim, Report Says:

While universities routinely maintain that it costs them more to educate students than what students pay, a new report says exactly the opposite is true.

The report was released today by the Center for College Affordability and Productivity, which is directed by Richard K. Vedder, an economist who is also an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a Chronicle blogger. It says student tuition payments actually subsidize university spending on things that are unrelated to classroom instruction, like research, and that universities unfairly inflate the stated cost of providing an education by counting unrelated spending into the mix of what it costs them to educate students.

“The authors find that many colleges and universities are paid more to provide an education than they spend providing one,” says a news release on the report, “Who Subsidizes Whom?”

The report’s authors used data from the U.S. Education Department’s Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System, or Ipeds, to conclude that more than half of students attend institutions that take in more per student in tuition payments than what it actually costs them to deliver an education.

The chief reason universities inflate the figures on what they spend to educate students, says the report, is that institutions include all of their spending—whether it is directly related to instruction or not—when calculating what it costs them to provide an education. In reality, says the report, depending on the type of institution, it can cost universities much less to educate students than what the institutions bring in through tuition charges.

“This study finds that education and related spending is only a portion of many institutions’ budgets,” says a news release on the study, “and that many schools spend large amounts on things unrelated to educating students.”

The question lawmakers should be asking themselves is why society developed public universities and do those reasons still exist? In the rush to get past this moment in time lawmakers may be destroying the very economic engine, which would drive this country out of the economic famine that currently exists. While tuition is increased for students, the pay of college administrators remains hefty. Administrators are in effect pigs at the trough and should come under some scrutiny. Of course, if the current public universities were privatized, we wouldn’t have to worry about pigs still at the trough or would we? In a totally privatized university environment, administrators could be paid what the market will allow or the regents can go wink, wink at. Wait, wasn’t unfettered pay one element in the U.S. financial meltdown?


Choosing the right college for you                                                        

Many U.S. colleges use the ‘Common Application’                              

Dr. Wilda says this about that ©