By Karen Seashore Louis
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Many high schools were not willing to enroll students that they deemed to be at-risk and low-performing due the potential impact of such students on their school’s test scores: I encountered a student just a week ago, and he is 16 years old, this is his first year in the 9th grade. His chances of graduating are slim. [y] Most of the 9th grade kids are like this, he is going to give up by the time, if he does not make it to the 10th grade, he is going to be 17 years old and he is going to be a dropout [y].
Color the ‘safe cases’, or kids who will definitely pass, green. Now, here’s the most important part: identify the kids who are ‘suitable cases for treatment’. Those are the ones who can pass with a little extra help. Color them yellow. Then, color the kids who have no chance of passing this year and the kids that don’t count – the ‘hopeless cases’ – red. You should focus your attention on the yellow kids, the bubble kids. They’ll give you the biggest return on your investment” (p. 5). Booher-Jennings (2005) reported that educational triage has become an increasingly widespread response to accountability systems documented in Texas, California, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and England.
Citing declining standardized test scores, unfavorable international comparisons, and waning public support for America’s schools, the report argued that American students’ low performance was a direct result of weak curriculum, poor educational programs, and an untalented educator workforce. The authors thank Roberta Rincon, Suyun Kim, Kori Stroub and Linda McNeil for their feedback and assistance with the work. Soon after the release of the Nation at Risk report, there was a push by business leaders in Texas to reform the state’s schools.