Dropout reform vs. academic standards

President Obama and the U.S. Congress could raise the public high school graduation rate to 100 percent by fiat. All they’d need do is require that, as a condition for receiving federal aid, school districts had to give diplomas to all eighteen-year-olds, regardless of whether they had shown up for classes or learned anything. Conversely, in a quest for higher standards, policymakers could make graduating from high school so difficult that only future Nobel Prize winners would ever walk across the stage, capped and gowned.