When recently released graduation rate statistics were greeted by the business community with a hefty dose of skepticism, Texas Education Commissioner Robert Scott decided to call on employers, and the Texas Association of Business in particular, to voluntarily stop hiring folks who haven't made it through that teenage rodeo--high school. "It would send a powerful message to these kids to stay in school," Scott said, adding that the diploma-less hiring freeze would also be "better for businesses and better for the state in the long run." Though it's not clear how Scott's idea would turn into viable policy, creating real-world stakes for kids to weigh before dropping out or failing to complete their graduation requirements is certainly innovative. Graduation rate numbers are likely to go down once the Lone Star State fully implements last fall's stricter federal reporting regulations and schools will start feeling the pressure to push more students across the finish line. (Our recent graduation rate primer explains more.) Unlike those changes, which are likely to fall victim to system gaming, changing the rules of employment seem most likely to encourage students to keep playing.
"Texas education chief suggests voluntary ban on hiring dropouts," by Terrence Stutz, The Dallas Morning News, July 31, 2009
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