> 190 URLs
WELCOME to williamson-labs.com   --SITE MAP  --INDEX --HOME
> 90 Subjects

Secondary-Education-is-Secondary

PRINTABLE --- Table of Contents --- VERSION

--Dignity
Dropouts
Reasons
LDA
Dropouts have Higher than Average I.Q. 
Push, Pull
Diversions: 
Full Time Job
Cheap Labor 
The Academic and the Pizza Manager 
Entry Level Jobs
   Attitude 
"Being Cool is Where its at, Don't be a Geek or a Nerd" ("It's better to look good than to feel good")
It's Like Being White
   Solutions
It's a Job: So Pay Students a Salary
Carrot: It's Pay Now or Pay Later...
A Free Ride
Music to my Ears
Critics' Answer
 Tutoring 
Mandate Tutoring
Special Education 
Hire Kids to Tutor Kids 
Computers, The Ultimate Tutor
The Old Teaching the Young Teaching the Old 
Adult Education 
Television & Hollywood 
   Do What Works
Skewed Curricula 
If Two Trains Start Out
See Dick, See Jane, See Jane in a Garter Belt
Adults Tomorrow 
Show and Tell 
Harness EGO Power 
Conclusions 
Consumer Activism 
Competition Among Schools
   Teachers' Unions
   Misc
Medical Evaluation
Parents held accountable 
   What Next?
--Dignity
Kids deserve the same dignity that adults expect. Some, More So!

Dropouts 
It is unbelievable that children, when reaching the age of 16, are free to dropout of school. It is unconscionable to allow children to make such a life-altering decision. It is not only life altering to the child--and their family--but to society as a whole. The destructive result for the nation is lost productivity, reduced tax base, the increased interdependence on government services, like welfare, etc. This foolish, turn-of-the-century law, from a bygone agrarian era, is outdated by many generations and should have been abolished fifty years ago! 
 
 


Reasons
Dropouts have Higher than Average I.Q. 
Some years ago UNC did a survey of high school dropouts, and to their surprise, they discovered that the typical dropout had an above average I.Q.

Schools don't always challenge the bright kids, they become bored, lose interest, fall behind and ultimately become discouraged and give up.

Along the way to dropping out, there are very strong and complex forces pulling and pushing the student. These forces are anything from an uninteresting school experience, to the lure of a job that brings "independence" (or the illusion there of).

[TOP]
LDA
Some kids have learning disabilities ( recent evidence indicates the number could be as high as 30 %) and are often dismissed as lazy, or a "troubled kid," or one who just doesn't care, etc. The facts are that a lot of LDA kids are gifted and often have a higher I.Q. than their "normal" peers. If these children can be discovered and helped early enough, many dropouts could be prevented. It seems our hearts go out to the physically and mentally disabled, but ignore or overlook the learning disabled. 

Buy in to the System
We need some way which not only allows, but encourages, kids to "buy in to the system;" to make it their own; to become shareholders in the system. A kind of profit sharing: the most productive workers in the world are those who share in the fruits of their own labor. 

Push--Pull 
As in most decisions, we make big changes in our life when we are both pushed and pulled at the same time. Pushed by the feelings of failure and alienation from the school experience, and pulled by the lure of money and all it will bring: a car, an apartment of your own. Mostly it's independence and the feeling of "getting even," its a quick and painless way to leapfrog over his/hers peers; to show them that not only is he not a failure, but he has grown up, and they have not.

Diversions: 
TV, TV, TV, popular culture, more TV, cars, cloths, MTV, after-school-jobs, etc. There are people out there doing what ever it takes to pry your money loose from your fingers. When I was going to tech school, in the U.S. Air Force, I was faced with the choice of studying or doing work in the company area--like white-washing the rocks in front of the orderly room. Needless to say, I studied. In a school with a 50% failure rate, I averaged 97%, the highest average anyone had gotten in eight years: I am not that smart--but I was motivated. When the after school things-to-do are significantly more fun than going to school or studying: we have a problem. Using the logic of people, who, when thinking about what they will ware to school beyond the next day, are considered futurist by their peers: you can't restrict television watching or have a curfew on school nights--this is a free country, it ain't fair. 

Full Time Job
The temptation of a full time job to get the money to buy that shinny sports car or boss pickup truck is strong. The lure of getting 'one-up' on, or Showing the other kids (and the teachers) is also a inordinately strong motivation for dropping out: "Hey Dude, I don't have to go to school, that's for wooses." 

[TOP]
You "Can't Go Back"
Once a kid drops out, the forces keeping him from returning--after he has seen the light-- are enormous: fear of peer reticule being the most powerful or being in classes with younger kids: those kids he used to look down on or disparage--as teens are sometimes disposed to do.

Cheap Labor
Part of our economy counts on a pool of cheap labor: school kids. School kids who come to class tired and sleepy from work the night before. They get hooked on the money and spend more than they take in, they get in debt, their grades suffer, and on it goes until they dropout or at best, they don't go on to college.

These Kids are selling their future for minimum wage--its our future too. If we allow this to continue, those $1.25 Burgers are going to cost us a lot more in the long run.


 
"If we allow this to continue, those $1.25 
Burgers are going to cost us a lot more"
How about Paying students to go to School.
If that isn't a FULL TIME JOB, nothing is!

The Academic and the Pizza Manager
The academics have a strange ally in the pizza and fast food managers. Both are against paying students to go to school, but for completely different reasons... It reminds me of the Baptists and the bootleggers allying against liquor-by-the-drink referendums: both for completely different reasons.

We spend billions on education and watch it fail by default: where are our brains?--gaw

Entry Level Jobs 
If one looks at the costs to the nation of kids dropping out of school, it is staggering, and effects us all in ways that are not always obvious to us. If they are lucky enough to get a job, it will be an entry level type job and is a portent things to come. Unless they have a skill that is marketable, for the foreseeable future, they will be destined to entry level jobs the rest of their working life. By the time they reach age 30, when they have loaded themselves with maximum responsibilities, they will be aced out of even entry level jobs by younger dropouts, and then they and their family will become "wards of the state," off and on from there on out..

[TOP]

Attitude


"Being Cool is Where its at"
"Don't be a Geek or a Nerd"
What an incredible thing to believe. This ridiculous and destructive attitude was promulgated by Know-nothings," people who couldn't measure up to the others around them: so they justified their existence by putting those that excelled down, and did a very convincing job of it: that theme is picked up by other know-nothings--to great effect. How very very sad!

It's Like Being White
If the KKK had offered a prize for the most effective idea for destroying the black culture, they could not have come up with a more lethal idea than causing young blacks to believe that getting good grades in school or working hard and moving ahead in their job is being white, and to be avoided. But the Klan didn't have to bother, the young black (and not so young) culture has already bought on to this destructive concept. This idea is so ingrained that enormous peer pressure is brought to bear on those who dare to excel. 

Compounding this tragedy are the self-appointed "black leaders" that actively don't speak out against this self-destructive ethic. These social parasites, while ignoring real solutions and causes, loudly accuse the so-called "white power structure." These "leaders" are so averse to having to hold down a real job, they will do or say anything to perpetuate their lucrative and lofty position. If I were to steal a loaf of bread from a convenience store or hubcaps from my neighbor's car: under the law, I could go to jail and serve time behind bars. Yet these people--Sharpton, Jackson, et al.- affect an entire population in very negative ways, from the tragedy of unrealized potential to the destruction of lives: yet, these people will have broken no law and will never serve an hour. 

Judge Clarence Thomas is a classic example that the ethic exist among some in the adult black community. "How dare you succeed without government largess or liberal benefactors." "How dare you hold and espouse views that are not politically correct, after all, we liberals helped you-people." "We liberals, not the conservatives have protected and sheltered you for all these many years--you owe us." 

Solutions


It's a Job: 
So Pay Students a Salary Pay kids a salary to go to school, just like a job--just like the job that it is: the better the performance the higher their pay; if they stay after school for remediation, they are paid time-and-a-half overtime. If they need remediation and don't put in a minimum of "overtime" they are required to save a greater percentage of their income (they have less to spend). On payday they would be required to divide up their money (cash) and pay their withholding tax, their SSI and deposit some percentage of the remainder into their school bank's savings account; the balance is his or hers to spend as they please. The money in the savings account--which is matched, with interest--can be withdrawn for college after graduation. If a student drops out of school "his" money stays in escrow for seven years in the event he returns to any school and graduates, at which time it again becomes his/hers for college, i.e., the money goes directly to the college for tuition, etc.; with some amount paid out monthly, to them, for their mad money needs,
[TOP]
A Carrot
People need a reason, a justification, for doing anything, especially something that is neither fun nor admired. Human nature is such that people will do for minimum wage: something they would never do otherwise. 

It's Pay Now or Pay Later. 
If A kid goes to college he/she may receive a scholarship worth X amount of dollars, or they take out a student loan, or the military pays for a four year education. All of these methods of paying for a university education, cost the nation (including the federal student load program--few repay it)--not the student. 

A Free Ride 
If we we take those same monies--a little early--and use it as an inducement--a carrot , if you will (at no real cost), it has the desired effect of getting them to stay in school and get an un- distracted education and they may even go on to college and it has cost no more money. The only difference, the students get their hands on it sooner, and it does double duty.

Music to my Ears 
"Hey man, I'm not quitting school like you did. I make more than you do. After you pay taxes, Social Security, rent, etc., you don't even have chump change. If I can keep up my "B" average and save x% in the school bank--tax free and making n% interest, not to mention the 1:1 matching funds the school puts in: Ill be able to start college with enough money that I won't have to work so much that I my studies will suffer." "And, if my English class ends up with the highest average in the school-wide and state-wide, competition, I'll have $ dollars to spend on anything I want; maybe a stereo for my dorm room, and a..."

Critics' Answer 
Critics: academics are against this sort of thing, they say its wrong, that it shows the wrong ethic, etc. Since when were these people interested in teaching ethics?

[TOP]


Tutoring
(I don't hear anything)

Mandate Tutoring 
Mandate Tutoring for pre-dropouts

Special Education 
Special education for pre-dropouts, just as we spend resources for the special needs of kids with handicaps, we must also help the pre-dropout kids.

Hire Kids to Tutor Kids
Hire kids with good grades to tutor kids who need help. The only requirement is that the kids being tutored are not humiliated: use older students who are one or two grade levels above them (a role model). Also, if a boy would be embarrassed at being tutored by a girl: be sensitive to that fact and get another boy; and in the case of a girl, the same.

Computers as Teachers
The Ultimate Tutor Computers are the ultimate one on one, non-judgmental, tutors.

The Old Teaching the Young Teaching the Old 
The old teaching the young is the most natural thing. Millions of "old people" growing older in nursing homes, with nothing to do but wait--wait to die: what a waste! Match these with millions of kids failing in school and at risk of dropping out of school--and life. The old teach the young about life: the young teach the old about living.

Adult Education
Adult education must be responsive to the real needs of adults. Anyone: from a recent dropout to an adult dropout.

Television & Hollywood
Educational films are, for the most part, done by amateurs. Television has taken a huge toll in young minds. It could be one of the most positive things in young people's lives--but its not! Hollywood could do wonders for our kids and the educational system in this country--and the nation. If they were to help the kids now, they would have less "work" to do when it comes to the homeless.

Imagine: If the cast and production crew of the television show "Cheers," for example, were to the apply their many talents and energies toward making educational films, with the same high quality that they put into their present successful television show: American education would transformed, as would be America.

The same with the effort and expertise that go into television commercials. Why not sell a product worth more than gold: the need for a good education.

[TOP]

Do What Works

Skewed Curricula 
Our school systems have skewed curricula. There seems to be little attention paid to the real needs of soon-to-be workers.

If Two Trains Start Out... 
When was the last time you solved for X. If algebra is really so useful, then why aren't the problems in the textbooks problems that I recognize. I have never needed to calculate: "When two trains leaving from two different cities, traveling at different speeds would meet." Use problems that kids can identify with--solutions to problems a reasonable person in the real world has everyday. Name two!

See Dick, See Jane, See Jane in a Garter Belt... 
Reading is the same way: If it takes smutty trashy dime novels to get kids, who have never read a book in their lives, to read--then do it. It seems some academics would rather be true to their "Ideals" than true to their students. 

Adults of Tomorrow
Does it ever occur to these people, in the education establishment, that the children they teach today will someday be adults, whose lives will be unalterably affected by what is taught and most especially how it's taught? 

There is an old axiom that basically says that any fool can make the choice between good and bad, right or wrong; but the real choice is between good and good. Or stated another way: making the choice between the lesser of two evils. 

[TOP]
The Purist 
Being a purist or being a perfectionist about some things is OK, but not when it's at someone else's expense. 

A Dichotomy:
Our educational system is a dichotomy: on the one hand the school curricula seems to be geared for the ideal track of a complete 16 year plus, education. A track that presupposes one will stay on for the complete 16 year "professional" ride. One where, if you fall off before the final destination, you would be ill equipped to get a good job of any kind. And on the other hand, an educational system that caters to minorities: from legitimizing their ghetto language (as an anthropologist studying a backward tribe might), to lowering requirements and standards: becoming nothing more than a diploma mill. One which expects little out of "these people," and gets very little. This is a killing condescension! One that any targeted minority should resent to the core, or at least to the voting booth--fat chance!

Show and Tell
"Show and tell" is one of the most powerful ideas around. It uses the child's innate need to be seen as the person they see themselves to be, and the need for validation of that person. By showing the personal things that reflects their persona, is--when it works--a sight to warm your heart. They are--for that moment--the most awake and alive that they will ever be--in a school setting. The effect is not transitory: the residual lingers and should be nourished. Some critics say that this is bad for the children who don't have anything to show and tell about: their feelings will be hurt; therefore show and tell should be abolished as a teaching tool, or at least kept to a minimum. The counter argument: is that the very feeling these people wish to protect them from, will, in fact, motivate them to find something that does interest them: that they can show and tell. will in fact, awaken them to new things and new ideas. 

Harness EGO Power
The ego is the most powerful thing man has: it either makes us dig our heels in and stand fast! Or it makes us work ourselves into an early grave. There must be a happy median out there somewhere.

[TOP]

Conclusions

Who Do You Know?
There is a dirty unyielding truth, that most politically correct, academics will only privately acknowledge: that it is not what you know, but what you have--a diploma--that counts.

Consumer Activism
Consumer advocates worry about everything under the sun, from toilet paper to electric drills, but not the quality of education. We are not getting our money's worth: We, the kids, the parents, the citizens, are consumers, and we are not getting what we pay for--we ought to demand an accounting.

Competition Among Schools 
Put free enterprise to work: competition among schools, special fund is used as incentives. Schools are graded, the winning school receives money, which goes to increasing teacher salaries, etc.


[TOP]
Misc 
Medical Evaluation 
Medical evaluation of kids for an organic reason to their problems, before we beat them up for "being lazy," even if they are. The evaluations must be done by real doctors, not some social worker bureaucrat or intern.

Parents held Accountable
Parents should have a say and be held accountable: When kids dropout of school the parents have not held up their end of a bargain made (implicit) with the state, they have allowed their child on to a public unprepared. This will cost the "state" (us all) money, and therefore the parents must be held responsible: they must help pay their kid's "bill."
 

Teachers' Unions
"There are teachers that see teaching as a Career; 
and there are teachers that see teaching as a Calling."
A proper mix of both motives is certainly a healthy thing for our Educational System.
It is truly depressing to hear learned experts discussing "what is wrong with our schools," enumerating a long list of ills, with the lack of money dominating that list. Conspicuously absent from that laundry list of ills are Labor Unions

Unfortunately, a Labor Union promotes only the Career aspects of teaching; it roundly discourages individual initiative and independent thinking on the part of its teacher members!
 

[TOP]

** What Next? **

One must separate out the various reasons for dropping out and rank them in order of impact and chronology, i.e., loss of interest in school can proceed getting a job, which happens before one gets into debt, which requires more hours of work to pay for the debt; meanwhile school is looking less and less attractive, and on it goes until a full time job seems the only answer. 

This separation is not easy, mainly because these are not discrete stages, but happen in a mix or overlap. Be that as it may, if an effort were made to try heading off all of these effects by going to the Source: if the school were more challenging the students boredom and free time would not impel him to get an outside job, or at least limit the time and energies at that job. 

Well, how do you/we get a student interested?... 

              You Fill in the blank [_____________]

 
Suggestions are Solicited, P l e a s e !