A Better Database
A recent report by the National Forum on Education Statistics, a group of federal and state officials, calls for upgrading the nation’s education database. The report, which proposes 35 reforms, urges the National Center for Education Statistics to work with the states to develop and report better data on student backgrounds, education resources, school processes, and student outcomes.
Good Schools, High Income
A longitudinal study of men by two Princeton University economists, David Card and Alan Krueger, concludes that those educated in states with “higher quality” school systems tend to earn higher post-school incomes. Asked about the policy implications of the study, Card said, "[I]f a school system with 28 students per teacher drops down to 20 students per teacher, it will make an important contribution to children’s welfare later in life.” The report, Does School Quality Matter?, can be obtained by sending $2 to Working Papers, National Bureau of Economic Research Inc., 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138.
One Vote For Rural Schools
Data collected in Iowa by Kimberly Schonert, Judi Elliott, and David Bills of the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory show that rural high schools in the state do a good job of getting their students ready for the demands of college life. The NCREL study found that 75 percent of the rural students who entered two- or four-year colleges earned their degrees within five years of their high school graduation. This is significantly better than the national average, which is 50 percent.
Concerned that adult heart disease may have its origins in high cholesterol levels developed early in life, educators and medical experts are beginning to test school-age children for cholesterol. Such testing, supporters say, will help identify those children who are at higher risk of developing heart disease. High-risk children can then be taught to modify their diet and lifestyle early on.
Minorities At White Schools
Minority students who graduate from high schools in large metropolitan areas where the majority of students are white have a much better chance of finishing college than those who attend schools where nonwhite students are in the majority, a recent study concludes. This finding held true even when family income and academic ability were taken into account. The results of the study, conducted by survey research specialist Eric Camburn, were published in September in a special issue of The American Journal of Education devoted to research on minority students’ access to higher education.
How Many Dropouts?
A report by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the U.S. dropout problem “grossly exaggerated” and concludes that most federal funding for dropout prevention is unnecessary. The commonly cited 30 percent dropout rate is misleading, the report says, because it fails to account for adults over age 20 who return to school for a high school equivalency diploma. When such adults are counted, about 87 percent of Americans complete high school, or its equivalent, by age 24.
A version of this article appeared in the January 01, 1991 edition of Teacher as Notebook