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Well, I admit the swipe at the statistics can only be justified by personal observation.  Perhaps there are statistics that cover these things, but I'm unaware of them.  I'm talking about, as DoDo mentions, the people who fall through the cracks.

And also a general distrust of our methods because of verifiable statistical skulduggery we engage in.  For example, we've been mucking about with High School dropout statistics for years.  The scam is you have kids dropping out and not obtaining the General Equivalency Diploma (GED), but you don't count them as dropouts if, say, they're moving and "may" enrol in another school or if they say they "might" take the GED at some point.  

These kids are never followed up on and never reported in the statistics.  This was a bad problem in some states for many years because the funding relied on achieving certain goals.  The trend went national with NCLB.  Of course, that program had started in Texas when W. was Governor, so they were the first to have a school-district claim to have a zero dropout rate.  I'll try to find the story which explains the whole thing in detail if you'd like, but these sorts of things with statistics go on all the time.

We also have a million ways that people are "unqualified" for any of the safety net programs.  Now, if you're poor and can't get into any of the programs or receive any of the benefits, how are you counted in the statistics?  The only program I'm aware of that attempts to count one of these segments is the projects which simply sends people out in as many cities and areas they can get volunteers for, and counts how many homeless they find on one night a year.

Maybe we can eventually make language a complete impediment to understanding. -Hobbes

by Izzy (izzy at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Oct 12th, 2005 at 03:05:10 PM EST
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