Legal Law

Saving school dropouts is everyone’s business

It makes perfect sense to emphasize that rising dropout rates affect every part of our systems from: living wages to poverty level, more people without health care insurance, higher prevalence of malnutrition, less time for parents to raise children. their children, less supervision of children, thus heralding future criminal and behavior problems, and children imitate parents … so if their parents drop out of school and do not return … children are more likely to do the same .

Despite the plethora of assurances that the dropout rate is declining, it is simply not true. A recent article in Time Magazine from April 17, 2006 dedicated the cover to “NATION OF DROPOUT” and sent a wake-up call for dropout rates of 30% and in some cases 50% for some groups. “Almost half of all those who drop out of school between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed.” (Page 38) These are their recommendations:

1. Third graders who cannot read begin a downward spiral of failure. Early literacy programs help.

2. Create alternative high schools. Choices in learning environments help children struggling in regular high schools.

3. Detect future dropouts. Children telegraph early warning signs of truancy or truancy. Intervention is essential.

4. Support vocational education. Many dropouts see little connection to school and the real world. Options other than college help them choose.

5. Involve adults. Parental support or mentoring helps children see the value of education, work, and self-respect.

A survey conducted by Bill and Melinda Gates published through Civics Enterprises was conducted by John Bridgeland and John Dilulio. The title of this article was: “Dropouts Say Their Schools Expect Very Little of Them.”

Three-quarters of the students surveyed say they would not drop out of school if they had to do so again. These were some interesting statistics:

38% said they had too much freedom and too few rules.

68% say their parents became more involved only when they were in danger of dropping out of school

70% were confident that they could have graduated if they had tried.

81% now believe graduating from high school is important to being successful

The Gates Foundation, which has already invested $ 1 billion in public schools, believes that dividing large high schools into smaller learning communities will go a long way toward solving this problem.

The recommendations in this article suggest that skipping school or truancy is the first warning indicator of dropout behavior. These students must be identified early and steps must be taken to fix the problem immediately. It is also suggested to raise the legal age for leaving school to 17 or 18 instead of 16, as well as to get parents more involved at an earlier stage when students start to miss school.

According to an ERIC Digest:

“Dropout rates are higher for students who come from low socioeconomic backgrounds, single-parent families, and non-English backgrounds.” (From the National Center for Educational Statistics)

“Students who marry, have children, or are in trouble with the law or authorities are more likely to drop out of school.”

In this study, they found that dropouts in a Wisconsin community showed clear signs of academic problems in the third grade. The teacher’s comments alone predicted an accuracy of 63%. Poor attendance, failing grades, and low GPA followed these students until they dropped out of school.

Those of you who have been following errors in reporting dropout rates in various major cities across the country may have been as dismayed as I was that statistics have been rigged to make schools appear more successful than they actually are. .

What seems to really work, and what can the average school and teacher do?

Some suggestions that seem to be working based on the materials I’ve been reading and the high school success point reports.

1. A more personal and interactive relationship between teachers and students and their parents. My personal mantra has always been that relationships are the basic foundation of good schools, good teachers, and excellent educational systems. Children need to know that you care about them and that you want them to be successful and that, as a teacher, it is one of your most important goals.

2. Create smaller learning communities in large high schools and high schools. Many of the elementary schools in the area where I live now have between 900 and 1000 students. It is difficult, and in many cases impossible, for teachers to connect with students and their families with such a large population.

3. Have high expectations for all students. Don’t give up on children and their potential because the student may fit the profile of a potential dropout. But keep a good track of these students and correct immediately. Kindergarten and first grade are essential to building that model of learning and teaching parents to connect with schools and make them feel welcome. This is also the perfect time to focus on attendance and educate parents and students on the consequences of not having your child in school.

4. In some other cultures, compulsory school attendance is not the law in your home country. For example, in Mexico, the law does not require a child to attend school. This could be a huge culture shock for some Hispanic families. Family visits by staff who speak the language and can explain this respectfully could go a long way in helping you understand the laws here.

5. Discuss and honor all types of careers in schools. Our culture still needs: plumbers, carpenters, electricians, licensed professional nurses, hairdressers, barbers, mechanics, etc. These professions must be respected and honored in schools. I have witnessed that most of the schools I worked in did not honor them on career day or in any way.

6. Provide choice opportunities for students. Our system shouldn’t offer college or anything. That is the height of irresponsibility towards society. Schools can offer training for local businesses by connecting with business needs and cooperating, provided local businesses support the completion of secondary schools. Some high schools are encouraging this and doing better.

7. School administrators and educators must also work on their attitude. I have witnessed how superintendents make statements like, “All students in our schools will go to college.” That is irresponsible in my opinion. Yes, we must have high expectations and believe in every student who WANTS to go to college and schools must help them. Yes, there have been terrible counselors who encouraged students to drop out of school. But not considering that some students are not interested in a four-year college degree is OUR FAILURE in helping them do what they want with their life, preparing them for a livable occupation in our society.

8. Dropout intervention specialists for a district do not necessarily function unless there is a representative from each campus at a committee meeting that works out the details to design goals and set intentions for each campus to reduce the rate of potential dropouts. . Each campus should have a committee whose intent is to focus on changing whatever needs to be changed to meet the needs of these children.

9. Effective and engaged ESOL programs for children and parents would help the school community by teaching the language of this country to help people work and learn effectively here. Districts committed to teaching English successfully and training appropriate teachers can help improve the chances of success for immigrants who do not speak English.

10. Update software systems to send emails to parents of failed students, skipped days, etc. it’s wonderful for middle- or high-income parents … those who might have less worries about their children dropping out. But what are we planning for the most vulnerable in our population who may not be able to afford a computer, who have two jobs to support their families, and who need their high school student to work to support the family? We may need to contact and work closely with local social workers and the system to design models for these families as well. Is it too far-fetched for the principals or the assistant principal to drive to the children’s homes and pick them up for school, or to come see the parents at night, or to call them and make sure the arrangements for the school are still being done?

We have a long way to go to help solve this problem and, as I said before, it is everyone’s problem, not just the school system. Forward-thinking administrative staff can do much to implement changes in their respective schools, demonstrate the effectiveness of the plan, and bring this information to a larger council for change across the district. Teachers in classrooms can monitor their students, call home frequently to verify student absences, and enforce absence policies. Teachers can also ensure that all students are reading successfully in third grade.

Parents should be reminded frequently of the importance of school attendance and the consequences of truancy. Businesses can commit to connecting with schools and helping train the local workforce to provide employment and employees for their future and the future of this country. Ministers, trainers, coaches, and any other professionals who work with children in this country may ask, “How are your grades? Are you going to school? Why not? What can I do to help? It is important to me that you stay in school. “


Time Magazine: April 17, 2006 “Dropout Nation” from 30 to 40 years old

USA Today- “Dropouts Say Their Schools Expected Very Little of Them” by Greg Toppo

Eric Digest ED339092 1991-00-00 by Jean Gausted, “Identifying Possible Dropouts”

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