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Some bad education mojo

April 1, 2008 - Steve Murch

There really is no other reaction you can have with the news on graduation rates in the largest cities in the country. According to a report released today, of the 50 largest cities in the country 17 had graduation rates below 50 percent. I guess it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Detroit is the lowest. Not surprising, since it seems good news from Motown is few and far between these days.

Detroit is the lowest with only 24.9 percent of students graduating from the city’s public schools. Less than one-fourth of students in Detroit’s public schools graduate from high school. Two other Midwestern cities, Indianapolis Public Schools (30.5 percent) and Cleveland Municipal City School District (34.1) also are at the bottom.

The survey is from 2003-04, after No Child Left Behind was enacted in 2002. While I’m no fan of No Child Left Behind, you can’t use the data as proof it doesn’t work. The report is too close to inception.

The troubling question in all of this is what happens to these kids? While some of the students might have just failed to graduate, it’s probably safe to assume most simply dropped out of school. With no education, where in the world do they think they’re going to get a job? Any job.

Who is going to hire someone who can’t handle basic math skills. Virtually all entry level jobs require someone to be able to add and subtract, or at the very least count. If you can’t do those tasks, how can you run a cash register or handle stock? About the only jobs a person could handle that doesn’t require basic math would be manual labor, and have you looked at the job market in Michigan? Those types of jobs aren’t available.

With no education, the labor pool is smaller. A smaller labor pool isn’t going to lure businesses to Michigan, or metro Detroit at the least. Thankfully, the graduation rates in the suburbs is better.


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