Dropouts and the Education Safety Net

"Too many kids are failing in California, and so is the education establishment"
By Larry Sand, Orange County Register, January 20, 2018

High school graduation rates have traditionally been a barometer of student success, as well as a measure of the quality of school systems.

"We Must Strengthen America's Educational Safety Net"
By Carl Brodt and Alan Bonsteel, RealClearEducation, December 22, 2017

In the United States, roughly 20 percent of all public school students fail to graduate high school on time, while 10 percent—about 1.5 million kids—end up entering an educational “safety net” to help them stay in the classroom.

Policy Brief:
"Strengthening America’s Educational Safety Net"
By Carl Brodt and Alan Bonsteel, Heartland Institute, November, 2017

For young people who flounder in traditional public schools or who are at-risk of failing, the future is grim. (618 kb)  

"Public needs dropout data on dismal county schools"
By Alan Bonsteel, The Sacramento Bee, Sunday, Apr 17, 2011

Two weeks into office, Gov. Jerry Brown eliminated the office of the secretary of education on the basis that it was redundant. The move was hailed as "simplifying California's education bureaucracy." (35.1 kb)  

"Scandal of Middle-School Dropouts"
By Alan Bonsteel, President, California Parents for Educational Choice Orange County Register, December 14, 2010

California Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell, won his job eight years ago with the help of millions of dollars from the California Teachers Association, and he has spent the past eight years working, not to help our schoolchildren, but to protect the union bosses who bought him. O'Connell has tried to convince the public that we are spending thousands of dollars less per student than we are, that our dropout rate is far lower than it is, and that test scores are much better than they really are, all in order to avoid accountability and more freedom of choice in our public schools. (23.8 kb)  

"Dropout rate, budget crisis linked - and both can be fixed"
By Alan Bonsteel, The Sacramento Bee, Sunday Dec 12, 2010

In 1999 Californians were shocked at the revelation that we were losing a third of our kids to dropping out of high school. That front-page news was made possible by our group, California Parents for Educational Choice, and the State Board of Education working together to get to the public at least partly accurate numbers about our dropout crisis. In 2004, the Harvard Integration project took that same data to the national level. (13.4 kb)  

"School choice is the key to improving education"
By Alan Bonsteel, Los Angeles Daily News, July 7, 2010

On June 15, the state of California missed the constitutional deadline to pass a budget. The next weeks will see the ugliest and most heart-wrenchingly painful budget negotiations in the history of the state as we deal with a $20 billion deficit after having already cut to the bone last year. (10.2 kb)  

"California's Broken Dropout Rerporting System : Fraud, Coverup And an Eight-Grade Algebra Error"
By Alan Bonsteel, M.D., President, Parents For Educational Choice, May 2009

The California Department of Education first began reporting statewise dropouts in 1974. Districts and county offices of education were simply asked to count dropouts one-by-one and report the numbers. For a short time, this actually resulted in a reasonably accurate number of 17.2%, approximately correct in those years that predated our current dropout crisis. (880 kb)  

"Dropout report skews reality"
By Alan Bonsteel, M.D., President, Parents For Educational Choice, Orange County Register, May 17, 2009

The tidal wave of teenagers dropping out of California public schools is by far the greatest crisis facing our Golden State. Already, the prisons we've had to build to house all those dropouts cost more than the UC and California State University systems combined. And that's only the beginning of our pain. A child who drops out today will be a tragedy for half a century. (17.5 kb)

"Schools can still cook the books on dropout rates"
By Alan Bonsteel, Orange County Register, July 20, 2008

All of us who live in an Information Age are familiar with "GIGO" – garbage in, garbage out. On July 17, the California Department of Education took GIGO to a new extreme, when it announced at a news conference a new computer system for tracking dropouts that uses phony data from day one, and gives the schools written advice on how to come up with ever more excuses for disappearing kids that will make it look like our dropout rates are falling. (10.9 kb)  

"Giving sudents a choice helps keep them in class"
By Alan Bonsteel, Los Angeles Daily News, October 27, 2004

The evidence that our dropout rates are shockingly high is clear. This spring, Education Trust-West pegged California's dropout rate at 30 percent, with far higher numbers for our minorities. The yawning chasm between the haves and the have-nots as a result of these dropouts, and the vast numbers of them who end up behind bars, is an embarrassment to a country that preaches liberty and justice for all. (13 kb)  

"Their second chance: Dropouts would finish school if they had more options"
By Alan Bonsteel, Los Angeles Daily News, July 21, 2004

John Kerry has opened a new front in the presidential campaign: our disastrous high school dropout rate. Schools are losing about 30 percent of their students prior to graduation -- a startling figure that was long hidden by phony "official" dropout rates. And Kerry is doubly correct that this is America's greatest crisis. An adolescent who drops out today is a tragedy for the nation for the next half century.

"Public schools hiding actual dropout counts"
By Alan Bonsteel, Los Angeles Daily News, April 22, 2004

The California Department of Education will shortly release its latest high school dropout rates. It will do so with as little fanfare as possible, keeping even the release date a secret, because even the people who compile these phony numbers no longer bother to defend them. (12 kb)  

Class of 2003 Dropout and Attrition Rates

Class of 2002 Dropout and Attrition Rates

Media Report:
California’s Disaster: Our 33% high school dropout rate 
by Carlos Bonilla, PhD, M.D., Alan Bonsteel, M.D., Carl Brodt, CMA, Lance Izumi, JD, March 2002

California's shockingly high dropout rate is the greatest crisis facing our state. This crisis has been masked by false dropout rates from the California Department of Education (CDE).
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Class of 2001 Dropout and Attrition Rates

Class of 2000 Dropout and Attrition Rates

Media Report:
Dropout Rates in California
by Alan Bonsteel, M.D., May 20, 2000

In  June  of  1998 the CDE reported that "the" dropout  rate  in California had "declined"  to  only  3.3%.  What   was  completely  unclear  from   the  press release was  that  this was a  one-year  dropout  rate. (101 kb)

"School choice will decrease dropout rates in the Golden State"
by John E. Coons, Contra Costa Times, June 20, 1999

THE HIGH SCHOOL dropout rate is a crucial measure of educational quality, but states vary in the candor with which they report it. California has led in the art of camouflage; our Department of Education has sheltered behind the unaudited data of local school officials who conveniently assume that the student who disappears has merely transferred schools. (144 kb)  

Class of 1999 Dropout and Attrition Rates

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