Welcome to the new High School Notes weekly roundup of education news. Every Friday, you'll find out what's making headlines around the Web.
No Child Left Behind
Secretary of Education Arne Duncan's prediction last March that 82 percent of American public schools would "fail" to meet No Child Left Behind standards missed the mark. It turns out that 48 percent of U.S. schools—the largest percentage since the law was enacted 10 years ago—failed to meet the "adequate yearly progress" benchmarks imposed under the law that says schools must increase the number of students performing at or above grade level each year.
A new study from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Arizona found that two fifths of high school graduates are unprepared for college or a post-high school career program. The researchers suggest some potential solutions for helping the "underserved third," such as integrating vocational training with academic classes.
A new study by the Center for Public Education found that American students are receiving about as much classroom time as students in countries that outperform the United States, such as Finland, Japan, and South Korea. American high school students spend approximately 1,000 hours in school each year; meanwhile, Polish high school students spend just 595 hours in high school per year, yet outperform American students on science and math examinations.
Online charter schools
The New York Times published an article questioning the effectiveness and utility of for-profit, online charter schools. It focuses on K12, a company that offers online charter schools in 28 states and Washington, D.C. and is reportedly raking in taxpayer money as their students underperform.
The Times calls online charters "one of the more overtly commercial segments of the school choice movement ... A look at the company's operations, based on interviews and a review of school finances and performance records, raises serious questions about whether K12 schools—and full-time online schools in general—benefit children or taxpayers, particularly as state education budgets are being slashed."
Teen drug use
High school seniors are drinking and smoking cigarettes less than ever before, but marijuana and synthetic marijuana use is up, according to a new survey by researchers at the University of Michigan. According to the survey, one in nine high school seniors has smoked a synthetic marijuana substitute in the past year, and 36 percent of seniors smoked marijuana in the past year (7 percent are daily smokers).