The numbers game

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals So rather than quibbling over mathematics and methodology, the LAUSD should look to adopt a new, comprehensive approach to the dropout problem – preaching to kids and families at an early age about the need to stay in school; making sure that high school students aren’t just warehoused; teaching lessons that students can use in their lives; developing an extensive tutoring and mentoring program. That’s no easy task, especially in a community where cultural and economic trends often work against the stay-in-school message. Far easier is to simply attack those who point out the scope of the problem. But arguing about statistics isn’t going to give a single kid a better future. Only working together to improve our education system will do that. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In his campaign to reform the Los Angeles Unified School District, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has repeatedly cited the LAUSD’s 50 percent dropout rate, as established by a Harvard University study. That has district officials furious – they claim the rate is really only about half of that. But the raw data seem to support Harvard’s take. There are more than twice as many freshmen (70,477) in the LAUSD as there are seniors (28,596) – a ratio that has held steady over the past several years. Those numbers mesh more easily with Harvard’s 50 percent dropout rate than with the LAUSD’s 25 percent figure – unless you accept at face value the LAUSD’s self-serving claim that thousands of high school-age kids move out of, but not into, the district every year. But whatever number you accept, the district clearly has a crisis on its hands. As Superintendent Roy Romer observed, “Any time you have 24 percent, that’s a big problem; you want to reduce that.” last_img read more