PNS Daily Newscast - May 26, 2020 

University of California gets high marks for shelving standardized test scores during the pandemic; and the work-from-home trend could be a boon for people with disabilities.

2020Talks - May 26, 2020 

Monday was Memorial Day. More than 100,000 people in the five major U.S. territories are military veterans, but can't vote for commander-in-chief. Plus, Puerto Rico has a statehood referendum this November.

VA Dropout Rates Soar – and Schools Earn Credit Under New Proposal

April 7, 2008

Charlottesville, VA – In Virginia's largest city, one-third of high schoolers drop out before graduation. And it's part of a national problem in urban areas, not only Virginia Beach. In Washington, D.C., the dropout figure is 58 percent.

The statistics are fueling criticism of a new proposal to give schools accreditation points, even for those students who drop out or graduate with a GED or other types of completion certificates. Angela Ciolfi, with the Legal Aid Justice Center, hopes the governor will step in to restore a focus on graduation.

"Gov. Kaine has said he wants to move from 'competence to excellence,' and addressing high school completion head-on in the standards for accrediting high school is a huge step in the right direction. But if Kaine wants to make a strong statement, he'll make sure that we don't shortchange students by relying heavily on last resort options, such as the GED and certificate of completion."

What's the difference? Ciolfi explains many colleges, employers, and branches of the military don't regard GEDs and other certificates as highly as they do high school diplomas. She believes it damages the value of the accreditation system to allow other credentials to "count" the same as a diploma.

"We would like the high schools that receive the 'stamp of approval' to be the ones that are nationally recognized as having high graduation rates, low dropout rates' a low prevalence of alternative credentials; and no graduation gaps between white students and students of color living in poverty."

The full report, "Cities in Crisis," is online at .

John Robinson/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - VA