Sign Here, Know Your Fate, Says Chicago

Via the NCTE Inbox comes the news that Chicago students who withdraw from high school must href="">sign a waiver first:

In an effort to curtail truancies and drop-outs, Chicago public schools will require students who want to quit to sign a waiver stating that doing so will be hazardous to their futures.

Parents must also sign the waiver, which warns that dropping out of school often leads to unemployment, jail and other troubles.

Officials in the country’s third-largest school district say that the move is intended to send a wake-up call to at-risk kids in Cook County.

Okay, I know Chicago has good intentions here, but I don't know about this. I've known a lot of people who dropped out of high school, and the motivations are sometimes very complex--not all the time, I realize, but sometimes. I've known people who had to quit school and go to work to help support the family, because several minimum-wage jobs add up to a living wage. I've also known plenty of people who dropped out of high school because they were severely bullied or suffering from depression, most of whom went on to earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. They should at least, if they're not already doing so, decide on a case-by-case basis whether or not to use this waiver.


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Calling it a waiver just make

Calling it a waiver just makes it sound as if they are trying to avoid lawsuits. I wonder if anyone has ever tried to sue their high school for not preventing them from dropping out.
All Day Permanent Red


I agree with Harrison. So many supposedly important steps are taken in response to a survey or a report that may or may not be reliable but gets public opinion riled up, and that sounds like nothing more than a forced indemnification clause sought only to shed a positive light on the powers-that-be.

Anyway, what are they going to do? Chase drop-outs and force them to sign this?

M Palmer

Part of the zeitgeist

Two of our current buzzwords--accountability and litigiousness--come to mind here.

I like the idea of some kind of exit interview for anyone leaving school, to ensure they've thought about it. I try to do that everytime a student wants to drop one of my classes. If they are having time management problems or other issues, it can help them feel the decision to drop is part of their own learning process, rather than just a failure.

But signing a waiver ("waiving" what?) doesn't sound like it's focused on the student's learning.


Job placement

I guess at-risk students are getting some sort of acknowledgement. However, I have to wonder how many students who are truly "at-risk" check in with the school administration when they ditch school permanently? This group would, it seems, be likely to comprise the level-headed kids with complex issues Clancy described, but not the ones who are truly at risk.

I think the school district ought to offer a job placement service for dropouts. Here are your choices: ditchdigger, migrant worker, etc. Hee.


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