Kids deserve the same dignity that adults
expect. Some, More So!
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, now foolish, turn-of-the-century law, from a bygone agrarian
era, is outdated by many generations and should have been abolished eighty
have Higher than Average I.Q.
Some years ago UNC, Chapel Hill, 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).
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 don'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
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.
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.
TV, TV, TV, popular culture, more TV, cars,
cloths, MTV, after-school-jobs, etc. There are people out there doing whatever
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."
The temptation of a full time job to get
the money to buy that shinny sports car or, that BAD 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."
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.
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 $2.25 Burgers are going to cost us a lot more"
How about Paying students to go to School.
that isn't a FULL TIME JOB, nothing is!
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.
billions on Education and watch it fail by default, where are our brains?"
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..
"Don't be a
Geek or a Nerd"
better to look good than to feel good")
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!
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 like being white, and to be avoided.
But the Klan didn't have to bother, the young (and not so young) black
culture has already bought into 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
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 positions. 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
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."
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
their 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,
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.
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.
If 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 undistracted
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.
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: 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?
(I don't hear anything)
Mandate Tutoring for pre-dropouts.
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.
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.
The Ultimate Tutor Computers are the ultimate
one on one, non-judgmental, tutors.
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 and
the young teach the old about living."
Adult education must be responsive to the
real needs of adults. Anyone: from a recent dropout to an adult dropout.
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.
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 be 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.
Our school systems have skewed curricula.
There seems to be little attention paid to the real needs of soon-to-be
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 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.
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.
Being a purist or being a perfectionist
about some things is OK, but not when it's at someone else's expense.
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" 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
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.
Who Do You
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 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.
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,
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
|"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
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!
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 an after school 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 [_____________]