The Growing Number of “Pushouts”

There are three types of dropouts:

  • The physical dropout – in most states students are not permitted to dropout until the age of 16.  This accounts for the high school dropout problem.  Many students dropout before high school.  Some even dropout in elementary school to go to work – even though this violates the law.
  • The Psychological Dropout – these are students who may be physically in class but mentally are miles away from school.
  • The Push Out – these students are told either by word or action to leave school.  As I have traveled around the country I have met and spoken to a growing number of these children, who have been told they are not wanted in the school system they are attending.

The last category – push outs – are the fastest growing category of dropouts.  In  El Paso the former School District Superintendent Lorenzo Garcia was found guilty of fraud by a federal judge. As superintendent, he came up with a scheme to force hundreds of low-performing sophomores to drop out of school in order to prevent them from taking a state-mandated accountability test. By weeding out the weaker students, Lorenzo Garcia boosted his schools’ test scores and as a result, was able to collect $56,000 more in federal funds and personal bonuses. Lorenzo Garcia was sentenced by a federal judge to 3½ years in prison for those crimes.

As long as principals, teachers and superintendents are going to be rewarded for the raising of test results we will continue to see the “fudging” of these results as we have seen with Arlene Ackerman, Beverly Hall, and Rod Page,  the former US Secretary of Education.