The editors at the Indianapolis Star have written many a perceptive piece about the shortcomings of Indiana's schools (see here and here, for example). Their latest pair of education-related editorials is similarly spot-on. The first attacks the use of exit-exam waivers, which allow students who repeatedly fail the state-mandated Graduation Qualifying Exam to collect their diplomas despite their apparent inability to read and do math at a ninth-grade level. According to the editors, "at 52 high schools [in Indiana], 10 percent or more of graduating seniors receive diplomas despite failing the GQE," and at some schools as many as 35 percent of graduates failed their GQEs. The editors rightly note that waivers are "degrading the value of diplomas." The second editorial illumines state and school districts' inability to accurately track high-school seniors--to know who's dropping out, and who's graduating. In one egregious example, Indianapolis Public Schools handed out 1,300 diplomas when it started the year with only 969 seniors. Eh? Kudos to the Indy Star for not letting all this shoddiness go unnoticed.
"Too many waivers means too many kids leave unprepared," Indianapolis Star, June 28, 2007
"Let's get real about Indiana school data," Indianapolis Star, August 1, 2007