Today’s Recommended Readings: Graduation Rates, Inequitable Discipline Measures

Today’s recommended readings go well with a cup of coffee (black, no cream).  You may want to include a scone.

Recommended Reading 1: The Oregonian recently reported that Portland’s increased graduation rates reported earlier in the school year (a lauded 5%) were really the result of (a) losing track of students the year before and thus reporting a decreased level of graduation and (b) finding those students again (in private schools, other states, other countries, etc.) and reporting the number of students in the district accurately.  Portland did see a 2% increase in graduation rates, but this situation calls attention to the rusty tracking system in PPS and our quickness to celebrate when there is so much hard work to be done in this area to actually bolster graduation rates.  Why is it important to know about this?  I think that community members should be aware of the true need in our local high schools so that we can advocate for high schools, volunteer with high schools students, donate resources, etc.

Recommended Reading 2: NPR just aired a story called “Questions Grow Over Race Discipline Report.”  This story reveals the complexity of understanding the crisis in our public schools.  Russlynn Ali (Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education),  does an especially good job of revealing the various meanings of each statistic that the report cites.  For example, she points out that the fact that teachers in lower income schools (with higher percentages of students of color) get paid less is not really because teachers are paid less in those schools across the board but because teachers in those schools have often been teaching for much less time, have fewer certifications, etc.  And this has everything to do with bigger issues of how to attract strong master teachers to teach in the students with the most need.  An interesting read!

Recommended Reading Collection:  I just stumbled upon this excellent collection of resources titled “Issues of Race & Racism in U.S. Schools” on the Ithaca College website.  This entire list is “must read,” but you might want to spread out your reading over the next few months.

This rainy week is perfect for reading…read up, and let me know what you think!

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