LAT Returns to Education w/ Big High School Series

For a while after Richard Colvin left the paper, it seemed like the LA Times' education coverage fell off the face of the earth. But starting today the paper is putting out a big series on high schools that starts with a look at how more than half of the kids entering one Van Nuys high school leave before graduation. Is it worth the long read?


Clearly, the paper has devoted a lot of time and effort to the series. "Six Times reporters and two photographers spent eight months studying Birmingham — by most measures a typical Los Angeles high school — and interviewing hundreds of former students and their parents, teachers, friends and siblings."

But did they get any insight?

There's some interesting stuff about how kids who transfer are less likely to graduate. "The more students transferred, the less likely they were to graduate — an ominous development in a district in which one-quarter of the students change schools annually. Of 18 students who attended three or more schools, only one graduated."

The piece also points out how HS credits needed for graduation, given only for passing grades, are substantially harder to come by than elementary school grades.

But mostly it just seems long.

Maybe things will pick up. Here's the rest of the series lineup:

Monday: Algebra — a formula for failure.

Friday: Fast friends — 11 started; three finished.

Saturday: The dropout industry.

On the Web

A photo gallery, a video report, a discussion forum and other multimedia features are available at latimes.com/dropouts. Use the Graduation Tracker to explore graduation rates and demographics for Los Angeles public high schools.


"Class of 2005," a segment of the news magazine "California Connected" produced in partnership with The Times, will air at 8:30 p.m. Friday on KCET in Los Angeles and at varying times that night on other PBS stations. For a complete broadcast schedule, go to http://www.californiaconnected.org .


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