The Blog Squad

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

City schools, by the numbers

We heard a lot of statistics at this morning’s meeting of the mayor’s education advisory committee. And numbers can be impressive, but they also can be deceptive. You know how it gets right before an election — polls all over the place telling the different camps exactly what they want to hear, even if they contradict each other.

So, I’m always a bit wary about numbers. But this one struck me: 25 percent of Richmond public school graduates and completers have no post-graduation plans, according to a 2006 statewide study.

They aren’t thinking about attending college or trade school; they don’t have employment prospects or plans to enter the military. This is shocking when you think about it. That’s approximately 300 teens (based on the number of 12th graders — not counting earlier dropouts) who have no idea what they’re going to do after graduation — at least the day they were asked the question.

Lest I single out Richmond’s schools, the stat for Henrico County is 16.3 percent, .3 percent for Chesterfield and 15.3 percent for Newport News, to compare another urban system.

And all of us know that when we fail to set realistic goals, we fail to make long-term, solid progress. Ask a crash dieter. She’ll tell you.

Maybe these students started thinking about their future after they were asked the question, but how do they prepare themselves for the real world in such a short amount of time? Can it be done?


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