Failing miserably

Posted: Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Recent articles by KTUU News, the Anchorage Daily News, and the Juneau Empire on "No Child Left Behind" contain words such as "success," "progressing" and "improved."

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The state education commissioner and local superintendents seem disconnected from reality.

In 2006, Alaska ranked 41st nationally with a 68 percent graduation rate, according to the United Health Foundation. Anchorage's high schools averaged 65.8 percent.

The state of New Jersey, which received only ⅓ as much federal education funding as Alaska, led the nation with an 87 percent graduation rate.

East and West high schools in Anchorage had rates of 58.5 percent and 54.4 percent respectively - almost one-out-of-two students didn't graduate. The Juneau-Douglas High School had a 64.7 percent graduation rate in 2006.

When students don't graduate from high school, that's as far behind as they can get. Almost ⅓ of Alaska's high school students are being left behind each year. It doesn't get much worse than that except in Third World countries.

This is 2006, not 1906. What are the "left-behinds" going to do?

D.K. "Dan" Lilja

San Diego

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