Differing opinions. Arthur Johnson, the district's superintendent, says the lawsuit is arbitrary and misguided. He defends the district's calculation methods. Not all students leave school because they have failing grades, he says. "They are choosing to drop out for other types of opportunities," including, Johnson says, jobs with local companies that hire students from the district's career academies. "When someone arbitrarily says the GED is not appropriate for these students, who crowned them the decision maker for all students and parents?"
Eric Smith, the state's education commissioner, acknowledges that Florida's calculation methods are flawed: "I think Secretary Spellings is right on target that we need to have an easier-to-understand calculation that is consistent from state to state and that accurately portrays what is going on in schools." Smith says the state is making strides to graduate more students on time and is considering several reforms to improve its calculation methods. One of those reforms would be to no longer count GED recipients like Schroeder as graduates. Schroeder, who plans to enroll in community college after receiving his GED, is a plaintiff in the ACLU lawsuit. "I'm not saying I was a perfect student and that it was all their fault," he says, "but I do think the school district should be more involved one-on-one with students who are thinking about dropping out."