Kids Who Stay in School Stay Alive

In Baltimore, those who were shot or slain missed an average of 46 days per year.


Whoever said it pays to stay in school has another reason to make that case, at least for kids in Baltimore. According to the Baltimore Sun, the city reviewed the files of 400 students who were shot or slain between 2003 and 2007 and found that those students had missed school an average of 46 days a year. Two thirds had been suspended or expelled at least once. Now the head of the city's public school system is "urging principals to find alternatives to suspension for nonviolent offenses to keep students off the streets," the AP reports.

In other education news, a recent report urges federal lawmakers to take action against the stereotype that all Asian-American children do well in school. The report, from the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund, says that "many Asian-American students are struggling, failing, and dropping out of schools that ignore their needs." Specifically, the report calls for changes to the six-year-old federal No Child Left Behind law. The AALDEF says the law masks the academic struggles of some Asian-American groups because it doesn't require states to break down the ethnicities of Asian-Americans in reporting data. In some instances, the report says, it's difficult to identify students who require more academic assistance because they face language barriers. These are legitimate concerns, but advocates shouldn't hold their breath for the current Congress to make improvements to NCLB this year.

This next education story offers a valuable lesson for prospective principals. The Washington Post reports today about the firing of a school principal in Washington. This wasn't the principal of any ordinary school: This principal was in charge of the school that the daughters of the school system's chief attended. It's not clear why Chancellor Michelle Rhee gave her daughters' principal the boot. At least two dozen principals have received notices saying they are out of a job next year. Rhee, who has promised the turn around Washington's failing school system, has been given the power to fire teachers and principals at will. Think this will make finding a replacement for her daughters' schools difficult?

public schools
No Child Left Behind