Re "L.A. sees graduation rates drop," June 21
The Los Angeles Unified School District's Debra Duardo points out that if students can't graduate in four years, maybe they can in five. Studies of high school graduation count only students who graduated "on time," interpreting taking longer than four years as dropping out and sending the message that those who take longer are failures.
Graduating in more than four years shows perseverance. Many students need to work after school. A five-year program makes sense for them. Nobody worries how long it takes students to finish master's degrees and doctorates.
During the Depression, the father of a friend of mine alternated working a year and going to high school a year, because his family needed the money. He was not a failure. He was a hero.
It's mind-boggling that L.A. Unified administrators are squabbling over the difference between 48% and 64% graduation rates. Anything short of 90% is beyond unacceptable. Someone needs to think outside the box to get students and parents involved and motivated.