Wednesday, April 01, 2009

VA school dropout rate is 9%; economy even hitting jobs in solar industries

Nearly 9% of high school students in Virginia had dropped out before graduating from the class of 2008, according to a story in the Metro Section today, April 1, 2009 by Maria Glod and Michael Birnbaum, in the Washington Post, link here. Alexandria had the highest dropout rate in northern Virginia (11%) and Loudoun County the lowest (3%). Repeated grades is often a warning sign of dropout, with many kids having trouble with the Ninth Grade.

When I went to high school (graduating in 1961), senior high school started with 10th grade, and 7th through 9th grades were “junior high school”. I remember that the maturity level seemed to improve substantially between 9th and 10th grades. Even so, for example, It’s Academic has occasionally had freshmen on its program, as young as 14.

I also remember, when subbing, that it appeared that racial tensions and gang activity were apparent in a few northern Virginia schools, but practically absent from others, depending on overall income level of the area. Such tensions could in a few extreme instances make it impossible for subs like me to function.

Fixing education with some sort of attention to the idea of “social contract” has become a top priority of the new Obama administration. Another priority is green, sustainable industries.

Nevertheless, in the later, a story by V. Dion Hayes from p A16 of today’s Washington Post does not bode well. BP Solar in Frederick Maryland has cut 140 jobs, despite idea that solar panels and their constituent silicon parts ought to be a reliable growth industry. It seems that the housing collapse is affecting the market for solar panels, even though there ought to be demand to put them existing homes. Also Osiris Therapeutics, a stem cell therapy research company announced sold some of itself to NuVasve, which would move operations elsewhere. The link for the story is here.

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