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Grabbing the Spotlight for High School Dropout Recovery

You don't need me to tell you that there's been an awful lot of talk nationally about No Child Left Behind waivers, common standards and assessments, revisions in teacher work rules and such. We don't hear much lately about high school graduation rates and dropout recovery.

That's why it's nice to see a new brief from the National Governors Association. Ryan Reyna, a senior policy analyst there who focuses on high school reform, has given us a nifty primer on the case for dropout prevention and recovery, and the most significant recent policy developments in that arena. He zeroes in on the most effective strategies states can embrace in this work, and offers us some interesting examples of states putting some oomph behind it.

Also, Reyna highlights something that needs repeating: Dropout work is two-pronged, and the recovery part is super-tough; arguably tougher than the prevention part. It's labor-intensive, expensive, and exhausting. As states and districts strive to improve their graduation rates—and are on the brink of being held accountable for them in new ways—it's worth taking notice of just how hard dropout recovery is, and wondering where the resources for increased capacity in that area will come from.

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