|Comment Period||Ends 11/5/2008|
Dear Virginia Board of Education,
First off, I would like to thank-you for the work you are doing on making graduation rates in VA schools a high priority. I am a direct benefit of that work- I attended VA public schools from kindergarten all the way through my college graduation. I am currently working on my doctorate at another VA public school, Virginia Commonwealth University. As a graduate of VA public schools, I have seen the life changing benefit that a solid education provides. Through my work conducting research and conducting therapy with Latino/Hispanic adolescents, I have seen the struggles that many of these adolescents go through to stay in school. I have seen teens not get enrolled in schools for months or years after arriving in the US because they and their families did not know how to navigate the school enrollment process and did not speak enough english to ask. I have seen teens with babies leave school or miss it for weeks on end because they did not have anyone to take care of their baby. I have seen school administrators tell people that a teen was not welcome at their school because the teen did not have a social security number. I have seen teens with nowhere to turn... I would like to urge you to not base school accreditation only on test scores. Instead I would like to encourage you to provide a strong reward system for schools that find ways to keep students engaged in and attending school. In particular, I would like to urge you to provide incentives to increase graduation rates for Latino/Hispanic students, especially targeting those that are limited english proficiency. I would also add to that, incentives to increase graduation rates for pregnant teenagers.
Thank-you for your consideration of this matter.
-A concerned VA public school graduate