Friday, November 16, 2007

Failure Rates

I just received an email from our outstanding office manager with a list of students who had been withdrawn from school for truancy (etc.) There was a list of about 20 kids which is only a small fraction of the 650 or so left here. Each of the kids were listed with a withdrawal code next to their names. This comment was at the top of the email:

"I'm sending a list of students that have been W/D this past month. Please look over the list to see if any of them are on your class list..... It should be good news for your failure rate."

I was immediately struck by the last line which was emboldened in the original email too. Why should teachers care about their failure rate more than the fact that these kids are losing an opportunity at life? Why are we reducing human life to numbers like wd codes and failure rates? Our school is usually a last chance stop for at-promise students and when they are withdrawn for truancy, they don't make it back to HS. They are done.

Now, its not our office manager's fault for the language she used (although I did send her a biting response). She only reflects the language of the instructors here. If we are more concerned that our student failure rate is low rather than a student's humanity then something is really wrong.

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