The Associated Press has an interesting piece out on a report on high school graduation rates in the U.S. They're not going in the right direction: Kids less likely to graduate than parents. This doesn't particularly surprise me.
There's a reason home schooling rates are climbing, and it's not religious fundamentalism. Kids don't drop out -- they're pushed out. One of the unintended consequences of legislation like No Child Left Behind, which looks at schools in terms of aggregate data -- the overall average of how the students perform -- is that schools are going to start doing their damnedest to shove the marginal students, the low performing students, the students who might drag the average down, out the door as quickly as possible.
NCLB does say schools have to improve graduation rates, but the bar is set pretty low -- according to the AP it's as low as 1/10th of a percent annually -- and with the emphasis set a lot higher on improving test scores than it is on retention, it's not surprising test scores would win.