BROCKTON, Mass. — A decade ago, Brockton High School was a case study in failure. Teachers and administrators often voiced the unofficial school motto in hallway chitchat: Students have a right to fail if they want. And many of them did — only a quarter of the students passed statewide exams. One in three dropped out.
Delaware and Tennessee beat out 38 other states and the District of Columbia to win a share of $4 billion in federal education grants, convincing the Obama administration that they have bold plans for overhauling their public school systems.
On any given day, about one in every 10 young male high school dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in 35 young male high school graduates, according to a new study of the effects of dropping out of school in an America where demand for low-skill workers is plunging.
President Barack Obama’s plan to deliver a speech to public school students on Tuesday has sparked a revolt among conservative parents, who have accused the president of trying to indoctrinate their children with socialist ideas and are asking school officials to excuse the children from listening.
Children are returning to classrooms across the nation during one of the most tumultuous periods in American education, in which many thousands of teachers and other school workers — no one yet knows how many — were laid off in dozens of states because of plummeting state and local revenue. Many were hired back, thanks in part to $100 billion in federal stimulus money.
In a move suggesting how the credit crisis could disrupt American higher education, Wachovia Bank has limited the access of nearly 1,000 colleges to $9.3 billion the bank has held for them in a short-term investment fund, raising worries on some campuses about meeting payrolls and other obligations.
Battered by a worsening economy, college students are seeking federal financial aid in record numbers this year, leading Bush administration officials to warn Congress that the most important federal aid program, Pell Grants, may need up to $6 billion in additional taxpayer funds next year.
It is 10:30 p.m. and students at the elite Daewon prep school here are cramming in a study hall that ends a 15-hour school day. A window is propped open so the evening chill can keep them awake. One teenager studies standing upright at his desk to keep from dozing.
The University of Phoenix became the nation’s largest private university by delivering high profits to investors and a solid, albeit low-overhead, education to midcareer workers seeking college degrees.
When it comes to high school graduation rates, Mississippi keeps two sets of books.
Nelnet, a major student loan company, offered on Apr. 20 a broad accounting of many often unpublicized relationships it has established with universities and their senior officials, including managing telephone call centers, paying college officials for speaking engagements and giving plane tickets to financial aid officers.
Harvard turned down 1,100 student applicants with perfect 800 scores on the SAT math exam. Yale rejected several applicants with perfect 2400 scores on the three-part SAT, and Princeton turned away thousands of high school applicants with 4.0 grade point averages. Needless to say, high school valedictorians were a dime a dozen.
When a psychology professor at DePauw University surveyed students, they described one sorority as a group of "daddy's little princesses" and another as "offbeat hippies." The sisters of Delta Zeta were seen as "socially awkward." Worried that a negative stereotype of the sorority was contributing to a decline in membership that had left its Greek-columned house here half empty, Delta Zeta's national officers interviewed 35 DePauw members in November, quizzing them about their dedication to increasing recruitment. They judged 23 of the women insufficiently committed and later told them to vacate the sorority house.