Thursday, June 16, 2005

A one track mind

For first time in six years, dropout numbers are on the rise
More than one in eight teenagers who entered an Oregon high school four years ago dropped out before graduation, state education officials said Thursday.

State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo singled out the rising dropout rate among Hispanic students as an especial concern. Their dropout rate, already the highest in the state among ethnic groups, rose from 9.1 percent to 9.6 percent in 2003-04, even as the rate among black students fell a full percentage point, to 8 percent.

She pegged the slide to the see-saw in public school funding that has prevailed in Oregon over the past few years, as income tax receipts have fallen, making less money available for schools and other government services.

"We've seen achievement scores flatten out, and now we're seeing a turnaround in the progress we've made in the dropout rate," she said in a news release. "These are the direct results of the disinvestment in our public schools."

But educators who work with high school students — and the students themselves — blamed other reasons for the dropout rate, from the spread of drug and alcohol abuse to family pressures. According to surveys the students fill out before leaving high school, the top three reasons for leaving school early include:
• Too far behind in credits to catch up.
• Lack of parental support for education.
• Working more than 15 hours per week.

Are you stupid Ms. Castillo? Do you think about anything other than money? Do you care about what the kids really need or who cares a long as there is more money? Do you honestly believe that a 16 year old drug addict says to himself "I would really like to stay in school but with the current lack of funding I guess I will just drop out and smoke crack instead..."

This is a perfect example of a public school administrator who thinks that "more money for schools" is the solution for any problem. I'm sure that if you ask Ms. Castillo how the additional money would help keep students from dropping out she would prattle on about various "services" that have nothing to do with education, teaching, or learning but instead are "lifestyle enablers" that are designed to ensure that there are no consequences for bad behavior.

I for one am not interested in dragging kids, especially ones who don't want to learn, through school with incentives, alternatives, and crutches.

"Billy, you were fighting with Tommy in school so now we will send you to an 'alternative school' with smaller class sizes where you will get that extra attention you need. The well behaved kids who are here to learn will stay in this classroom."

I think that if Billy has demonstrated that he doesn't care about his education and is interested in hurting other students then we should not be spending extra time, money and effort to help him feel comfortable. Certainly not more so than kids who do want to learn.

I'm sure that Ms. Castillo would refer to Billy as "vulnerable" and that he comes from a "high risk" socioeconomic background. Fortunately in the real world no one cares. If you have a job and you can't perform then you are fired. Billy's boss doesn't care about his "high risk" background, he cares if he is a productive worker and if he's not then he can go sleep under a bridge.

How many of these "alternative programs" do you think there are?

Alternative Education Programs (.DOC)

I can't believe how many there are! Why do we spend so much on the behavior problems? Why don't we give them a real life lesson:

You cause problems then you're out. If you want back in then you work forDemonstratetrate the willingness to learn and follow rules.

You got pregnant: You're out. Marry the father. But this learning environment is disrupted by teenage motherhood and we won't tolerate it. If you want to finish school then don't get pregnant. (It is 100% preventable)

You use drugs: You're out. People who use drugs lose interest in learning and can't focus. We won't have you bringing everyone else down with you. If you want back in demonstratetrate that you are clean and sober.

Or I guess we could just go with Ms. Castillo's idea: More money for PERS benefits!


jwalker said...

As a teacher, I know there are many alternatives if kids don't want to be in school. GED over the internet, alternative classes, correspondance. We don't need more programs.

I probably am going to sound like a blamer, but what I am going to say is true. The kids that are dropping out in the districts I work in don't have any boundaries in their homes. The parents either quit caring or they are so overindulgent, a kid doesn't know up from down. These kids would not take advantage of what was out there anyway, because they don't now.

This is a symptom of our society not cherishing those nasty family values and doing the right thing. As a public school teacher, I honestly believe our society is imploding and my kid will be going to private school.

A nice Christian private school, where they teach creation, values, planned parenthood is not welcome and they pray right in class. Those kids are doing really great and are very happy.

Daniel said...

The kids that are dropping out in the districts I work in don't have any boundaries in their homes.

And the schools enable these parents by trying to become surrogate providers through the various "services" that the schools offer that have nothing to do with education.