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State of the Debate
George Pyle
George Pyle has been a newspaper writer in Kansas, Utah, Upstate New York, and now Utah again, for more than 30 years - most of it as an editorial writer and columnist. Now on his second tour of duty on The Salt Lake Tribune Editorial Board, he has also done a stretch as a talk radio host, published a book on the ongoing flaws of U.S.agricultural policy and, in 1998, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. His most active bookmarks are Andrew Sullivan, Christopher Hitchens and Tina Brown. And he still thinks the Internet can be used for intelligent conversation and uplifting ideas.

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Editorials: Utah grad rate rates grimmace ...

Above: Dropping out of school isn't really something to sing about. But Frankie Avalon includes a message.

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- Real grad rate: New national formula more realistic - Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

When Utah education officials say a significant drop in the state’s graduation rates based on a new national standard doesn’t really indicate that fewer are graduating, they are not telling the whole truth. Utah’s 90 percent graduation rate in 2010 dropped to just 76 percent for the Class of 2011 based on a new federal formula adopted for consistency among all the states.

That’s a much more realistic number, particularly for one reason: The national formula demands that schools count ninth-graders in the pool of potential graduates, and that takes into account Utah’s shameful dropout rate, especially among minority students, that begins long before 10th grade. ...

... Utah has the lowest per-pupil expenditure in the nation — by far. Utah dropped from eighth to 26th in the amount taxpayers provide for schools per $1,000 of income between 1995 and 2009. Utah has the highest birth rate in the country, and personal exemptions to the income tax, the primary source of education funding, mean that those with the most children pay the least. Even when Utah had a $1 billion surplus, the Legislature favored tax cuts and transportation, not public schools.

It’s no surprise that only 27 percent of ACT test takers have scores high enough to show they are ready for college-level work. But it is appalling that the Legislature continues to ignore the facts and the implications for Utah’s future.

- Support efforts to reduce drop-out rate - Bozeman [Mont.] Daily Chronicle Editorial

... statistics show that any dropout rate is too high and that dropouts create a burden that must be shouldered by us all. ...

- Unified effort led to great scores - Clarkesville Leaf-Chronicle Editorial

- Students without homes, a state without a heart - Detroit Free Press Editorial

- What’s the real graduation rate in our schools? - Ericka Mellon, The Houston Chronicle

- If you drop out of school, prepare for miserable life - Chicago Sun-Times Editorial



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