The Locker Room

February 28, 2007

Re: Four-Year Graduation Rate

Posted by Lindalyn Kakadelis at 10:51 PM

Due to the high rate of students not graduating, the State Board decided to review this issue for three months, and come back with MORE ideas of how to obtain higher graduation rates.

Here is one more issue to “review.” Some of the individual school’s graduation rate just did not seem accurate to me. I decided to look at the 2005-06 End of Course tests and compare the passing rate of these tests to the graduation rate.  Yes, a different cohort of students takes the tests, than the ones graduating, but there is something strange going on. Obviously there must be students who CANNOT pass the End of Course (EOC) tests, but pass classes and obtain a diploma. For example:

West Charlotte High School – Graduation Rate is 81.8%  Percent passing EOC’s: Eng I – 68.2%;  Alg 1 – 48.1%; Biology – 28.5%;  Civics – 35.6%, U.S. History 28.8%

However, some schools do have similar percentages:
Providence High School  - Graduation Rate is 89%
Percent passing EOC’s: Eng I – >95%;  Alg 1 – 92.9%; Biology – 84.8%;  Civics – 83.6%; U.S. History 87.8%

“Grade inflation” could be the problem at lower performing high schools that have huge gaps between the passing rates on tests and the percent of students graduating.
If you want to check out your county: Go here for individual school graduation rates, and then to the North Carolina Report Card for how well students do on End of Course tests. Compare a higher performing high school to a lower performing high school in your county, and see if there is a huge discrepancy. 
While North Carolina’s graduation rate of 68 percent is not good news, what about those students who graduate, receive a diploma, and cannot do the expected work? No wonder community colleges and universities have high rates of  students taking remedial classes.

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Oh, the irony

Posted by Andrew Cline at 8:51 PM

Mike Nifong's attorneys are complaining that people are rushing to judgment that he's guilty of violating state bar ethics rules.

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Le'go my Lego

Posted by Jeff A. Taylor at 6:52 PM

Joe, that Marxist preschool Lego indoctrination stuff is both shocking and sadly predictable.

Our educational establishment has confused managing conflict with eliminating it, even if it means teaching children demonstrably false things. Law of scarcity? Poof! Gone.

Moreover, this further convinces me that Legos are one of the greatest toys on earth. Both endlessly creative and brutally concrete. If the part will not fit, the part will not fit -- no matter your emotional fit. Yet give a pile of Legos to a bright kid -- and stand back.

No wonder they cause such trouble.

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Re: Four-Year Graduation Rate

Posted by Chad Adams at 6:22 PM

On the heels of Terry's wonderful blog about yet another failure of public education, one has to wonder why legislators are not calling for massive resignations from the Department of Public Instruction?

Imagine if 4 out or every 10 miles of road were not drivable.  Would there be resignations from DOT?

Imagine if 4 out of every 10 immunizations at health departments were erroneous.  Would there be some disciplinary action?

What about 4 out of every 10 sheriffs' deputies routinely arresting the wrong people? 

But when 4 out of every 10 students don't finish school and competencies hover around 50% we still don't point to the folks who have been in charge of curriculum and development for the past twenty years.

Resignations should pour from the pink palace faster than Jim Black can cop a plea.

I'll be waiting for the press conference on this, but I doubt we'll hear anything beyond, "we just need more money to fix it."

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Re: Jackson Citizens Stand Up

Posted by Michael Moore at 1:50 PM


On the Public Hearing out there in Jackson County last night, it shows that when it comes to private property people have the Lockean ideals.

"Thus labour, in the beginning, gave a right of property, wherever any one was pleased to employ it upon what was common, which remained a long while the far greater part, and is yet more than mankind makes use of."

Locke's Second Treatise Of Civil Government: Chapter 5 Section 45

Here is what they're saying out there:



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Four-Year Graduation Rate

Posted by Dr. Terry Stoops at 1:21 PM

After much anticipation, the four-year graduation rate was released today.

The statewide rate is 68 percent. That means that 32 out of every 100 students do not graduate from high school in four years. Wake County's graduation rate is 83 percent and Charlotte-Mecklenburg scored a 75 percent. For our friends in Lee County, I am sorry to report that their four-year graduation rate was 64 percent.

At long last, the era of North Carolina’s near perfect graduation rate is over.

State education superintendent June Atkinson said it best. When asked about the four-year graduation rate last year, she said, "We're failing a third of our kids is what it means."

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Re: Setting the Record Straight

Posted by Dr. Roy Cordato at 1:18 PM

There is something I didn’t include in my previous post, which I think is more evidence that the left cares little about making the poor prosperous. An observation that I have made over the years is that the left is always investigating the causes of poverty, but never asks about the causes of prosperity, which is a much more interesting question. It seems to me that the the answer to the first question is quite trivial. Life causes poverty, which is man’s natural state, and has been so for most of human history and still is in most of the world. People who are really concerned for the poor should always be asking and seeking answers to the second question, that is, what are the causes of prosperity? Yet the left, especially those who claim most vociferously that they are advocates for the poor, never inquire about these causes. John Edwards Center on Poverty at UNC-CH Law School is a great example. Last March's conference which was billed as "the Center's first full-scale conference on poverty" did not have a single panel or even a presentation on the causes of prosperity. In fact, their biggest issue seemed to be income inequality, not making people more prosperous. But this is consistent with and ideology, i.e., socialism, that believes that the reason why some people are poor is because others are rich. This is the ideology behind what could be the most ignorant leftist slogan of all time--and that is saying a lot: "live simply so others may simply live."

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Medicaid Relief or Economic Incentives

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 1:16 PM

The General Assembly has a tremendous opportunity to eliminate competition among local governments within North Carolina and provide Medicaid relief to some counties.

Sen. David Hoyle, in the wake of the 30-year $256 million Google incentive package asked how much relief counties could really need from Medicaid given their generosity with corporate welfare.

Clearly, the General Assembly could simply bar local governments from offering incentives, just as it could take on the Medicaid burden from counties.

On the other hand, the GA could offer Medicaid relief only to counties who on their own or whose constituent municipalities do not have an incentive policy in place, have not offered incentives, have not granted incentives, and are not now providing incentives.

This would be a first step toward eliminating all corporate welfare in the state and providing final Medicaid relief to counties.

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Hackney announces House rules changes

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 12:55 AM

The speaker's ideas still need a vote in the Rules Committee and the full House. 

Here's the bill

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Consumers do bargain for health care

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:44 AM

High-deductible policies are doing what people said they would, giving policyholders a reason to negotiate medical care.

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80,000 Classroom Seats, No bond money

Posted by Dr. Michael Sanera at 12:42 AM

While preparing my latest Spotlight report, Buildings Don't Teach Students, I stumbled on this comparison.  It seems that the entire ruckus in Wake County is about how to provide seats for 60,000 to 70,000 new students over the next ten years.

I had an eureka moment when I noticed that 80,000 seats were added over the ten-year period 1996 to 2005 in Arizona without any state or district capital funding. 

No contested bond issue elections. No fights over year-round schools. Nothing, but the market quietly adding seats that were filled with eager students in schools that parents selected. Arizona’s charter schools, which don't receive capital funding, enrolled 80,000 students during that time period.  How about following that model in Wake County? Read about it here.

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Banning Legos

Posted by Joseph Coletti at 12:42 AM

Hilltop Children's Center, a private daycare and after-school facility in Seattle, banned Legos for several months because the young builders wanted ownership of their creations. The teachers tell their story in Rethinking Schools magazine

Legos are the colorful building blocks from childhood days or maybe last week.

Hilltop Children's Center is a private facility that charges monthly tuition of $235 or more for a child to attend after-school care. The privately paid teachers wanted the children to stop thinking, as one child reportedly did: "If I buy it, I own it."

One article states

Playing with Legos is now governed by three rules: All structures are owned by everyone; structures should adhere to size requirements so as to not create inequity; and the plastic Lego people can only be used by a group of people, not by individuals.

The teachers next plan to explain the dangers of pay to the Center's administrators with the goal of eliminating tuition and teacher salaries. OK, that would only happen if they really believed what they taught.

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The automobile and the environment

Posted by George Leef at 11:41 AM

The conventional wisdom is that automobiles (and more generally, the internal combustion engine) have been an environmental cataclysm. Our friend Dwight Lee, writing in yesterday's Atlanta Journal-Constitution (available here) asks the economist's question: compared to what? Prior to the development of the internal combusion engine, people depended greatly on animal power. Animals produce a lot of pollution and require a lot of cleared land as pasturage. Moving away from animal power seems to be responsible for a large increase in forestation over the last century.

Hat tip: Frank Stephenson.

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Jackson County Citizens Step Up

Posted by Chad Adams at 10:00 AM

Out west, it seems that local officials may have underestimated what freedom means to the locals. After pushing for a moratorium on new development, citizens responded. According to the Citizen-Times, "Construction trucks presenting a show of force lined a roadway near Southwestern Community College on Tuesday as more than 1,300 people packed a public hearing on controlling growth.

So many times, folks don't really tune into what cities and counties are up to, but this time was different. More from the Times:

The real estate and building industries fear jobs brought in by transplants could be lost with the moratorium.

“We didn’t come to cause trouble,” said Randy Dillard, manager of Toxaway Concrete. “We just came to show them who they are putting out of business.”

Once again, moratoriums are bad news for property rights and show a remarkable failure on the part of local government to deal equitably with growth issues. With a doubt, the issue in Jackson is really about development on slopes as the terrain is rather hilly, but that can be done with developers at the table. The real culprit with moratoriums is usually the Green Church. A reminder from when it was tried at the coast:

“. . . ALL permits for new development projects proposed within the 100-year floodplain should be placed on hold.” 9/24/03 Press Release from Environmental Defense, N.C. Coastal Federation, Southern Environ. Law Center

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Focus on spending along with taxes

Posted by Mitch Kokai at 09:59 AM

This Weekly Standard article about New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson reminds us that a government's fiscal record depends on more than just tax rates; spending levels are also important. 

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Toyota and the Ethics of a State

Posted by Chad Adams at 00:05 AM

The Triangle Business Journal notes that Toyota has selected Mississippi for its new Highlander assembly plant.

Of worth, Ray Tanguay, Vice-President with Toyota in one of the final paragraphs (emphasis added):

"On my visits to northern Mississippi, I have talked with area companies and observed their work force," he said. "What I observed were people who are educated, ethical and friendly with a strong work ethic."

Who says that legislative ethics don't matter in big businessSo, what incredible incentives are we likely to see from the Governor and the Department of Commerce to overcome the Black stain on our state?  Or maybe those packages just become more embarrassing, the going rate is $1.2 million/job.

Also interesting that Mississippi is more "educated" according to the quote.  

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