Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Why kids drop out of school

High school dropouts: The silent epidemic

If you listen carefully, you still can't hear it. It's the sound of a third of high school students dropping out before receiving their diploma. For people of color, the figure is almost 50 percent and that has profound implications not only for the students, but for the society that failed them.

Journalist George Curry has written a compelling piece on the high school drop out rate in the U.S. You may be surprised by some of the issues Curry articulates on the dropout issue. To read his commentary, click here.

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Emmanuel said...

Last year a comparison of the educational systems was done between all the countries of the European Union. Finland came out as one of the strongest. Belgium also didn't score badly, especially for mathematics. But, the two countries, although they both appear in the top rank, hold very different philosophies. In Belgium, the idea is to deliver the kind of math student, who can win an international math competition. Whereas in Finland, they say: "We are only so few. (They only have a couple of million inhabitants.) We can not allow ourselves to leave anybody behind." So, they concentrate on the overall level.

Dr. Deborah Serani said...

Wow, that is such a sad statistic. Really troubles me...

I wish we could go back to the old way of teaching, where learning was fun, not based on tests, and scores and all the state and federal funding that comes from that. I think we lost the goal of reaching and teaching the minds of our young.

Deb S. said...

Emmanuel: Interesting comparisons. This information is very enlightening. Perhaps the U.S. can learn a few things from our European friends.

Dr. Deb: I think there is a lot of truth in what you say. I'd like to see some changes in the way we train teachers. I also would like to see more partnerships - cohesive relationships - between schools and parents.

Anonymous said...

This is only going to make things worse here - as things move to other countries and more "aliens" come to the United States

I personally know companies where an American manager would rather not hire an American

When are people going to realize that there is no shortcut to good education - every statistic proves it - What are parents doing

If I had ever dreamt of leaving school I'm sure my parents would have beaten me blue


Deb S. said...

True Blue Guy: The idea that there may be American companies that are wary of hiring Americans is scary. But the truth of the matter is that the U.S. has a long way to go in providing quality public education for all children. Many other countries have a firmer grasp on creating first-class public school systems. And their cultures provides strong support for schools and set high expectations for students.

What are the parents doing? That is a very good question. Many of our parents aren't as involved in their children's education as parents were in previous generations.

Granted, it's a lot more complex being a parent today. We have more households where both parents work, we have more single-parent famiilies, and many employers that are not family-friendly. But we still have a lot of parents out there who are diligent when it comes to working with schools and taking an active role in their children's education.

Nevertheless, some of our parents - in my humble opinion - are so caught up in themselves or their fast-paced careers that their children become secondary. We have many parents who find it easier to throw money at their children than spend time with them.

Finally, when it comes to nonwhite students - notably black, Latino and Native American - American public schools still have a long way to go when it comes to ensuring educational equity (providing equal resources to all schools), high-quality teachers at every level, research-based curriculum and high expectations for students.

A couple of years ago, I visited an elementary school that hadn't had a library in five years. I can't tell you how furious I was! I thought it was criminal! The kids in that district were set up for failure before they reached kindergarten.

Finally, I think all American students should be required to attend school year-round, and parents should be more diligent in making sure their children study every night - whether they have homework or not.

RaY-ZoR said...

It is pretty sad about how many kids drop out of high schools, and yet many drop out midway in college, and of course, lots of students drop out in their senior year at University too, especially Engineering majors. I think the level of education in American high schools should be pushed up a little.

The reason I say this is because I was educated at a high school overseas from a school that was affiliated to the Cambridge University in UK, and we followed the british system. When I compare my level of education (not to say I'm any brighter than the average American), I realize that our standard of education, general knowledge, etc was much higher than that of the American high school kids. I also think discipline plays a major role in reiterating the importance of higher education. In American high schools, kids have way too many liberties.

Deb S. said...

Ray-zor: Excellent insight.