Monday, January 30, 2012

denial?

Denial, it is a river in Africa, right?  My local newspapers are still full of school news after the reporting of graduation rates last week.  Our best High School has an 82% rate and our worst comes in at 58%.
Forty two percent FAILURE! Four out of ten get dumped!  I wonder about a society that can't get a grip on its education?  I care about this because these are the people who are supposed to be paying for my Social Security as I paid for earlier generations.  When four out of ten Future Tax Payers are dumped by the wayside something is terribly wrong.
     There used to be other routes to success besides school.  We used to have factories and they would train their own.  Now they relie on Community Colleges to fill their needs.  More school. We used to have apprenticeship programs, learn as you go if you were lucky enough to find a mentor.  We used to have the Army, that time honored institution as a last ditch effort to "straighten you up" and offer you a skill.  With no education one is walking down a very narrow path indeed and choices are limited all along the way.
   It is so easy to place blame but assigning accountability does not solve the problem.  Over 40 students to a class and not enough classes.  Not enough teachers. Even the best students take only four classes and have free hours during the day.  I can see it would be easy to be a student today and think no one really gives a crap.  It is education by subtraction.  Not enough teachers, not enough classes and we drop four out of ten students along the way.
   There is a huge cost in dealing with this problem later.  In addition to my Social Security not being paid, it costs about $28,000 per year to house people in a prison and about $8,000 to keep them in school.  Think about that.

10 comments:

Tiffiny said...

58% graduating is actually better than it was a when my kids would have graduated. It was 84 and 88% that didn't graduate those two years in the state and the number for across the country were almost the same. My kids were part of the statistic and it wasn't there fault, I had been fighting with the schools since they were in elementary about what they weren't teaching them. Didn't do any good, but they have gone on to get their education on their own. It's made life starting off a bit tougher but where their is a will their is a way. So don't despair Jerry, kids are a lot more resilient then you think and they will find a way to get what was denied them.

But you are right, something needs to be done about this issue and now.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Here's the thing, Jer. I have to lay a large part of the default (take that word how you will) on parents. I've subbed in the schools, went to school myself, had kids in school and now grandkids in school. Parents are by and large abdicating their responsibilities and putting it on the teachers. That delight in learning has to be encouraged, but answering questions, encouraging curiosity, making some sort of adventure out of seeking answers. Seeking answers? Yes indeed. Look it up! Want to look it up. Teachers are now having to bear more and more of the responsibilities that parents should be assuming and some instruction time is lost. Teaching to the tests has become the common goal so kids can get pushed through. Having the time to develop a curiosity, the discussions and a chance to make sure the kids "get it" are lost. Parents aren't taking the time or energy to push the kids, to prod them, to inject a curiosity and a respect for the world around them...

No...it is flat out on the parents, to my mind. If a book is old? Supplement the text. The internet has opened up the world. No computer? Libraries have them for free use. Not getting it from a text book? Go to the library and check out another book on the subject, ask questions, seek answers.

We've all had bad teachers and we've all had great teachers. But the drive to learn, to succeed, to have a healthy curiosity? That comes from within and that starts from the parent.

stonepost said...

Sherry, THAT is your best comment EVER! You are wide awake so early!
So, what has happened that parent's are so beaten down they don't give a crap? No energy where it is needed most.

Barbra Joan said...

Jerry, it's a different world again. I hate to keep saying that but instead of parenting , people are letting computers, TV , and those game things do the parenting for them.. Sad ... but I think if the desire is there the kids will come out of it alright.. Some won't of course , they become the 'occupiers' .

stonepost said...

Yes, Barbra, "the occupiers", those without cake.

Tiffiny said...

How convenient it is to blame to parents when the educators fail. I had to teach my kids how to do basic math because the school system taught them to do it only on a calculator. I had to teach them how to sign their names since the educators decided script was no longer necessary because we now have computers. Parents send their kids to school to to be educated. They are in school eight hours a day, five days a week, how many days a year, they should be learning at least the basics.

So typical to lay fault for the lack of education in our school system on anyone other than those who's job it is to educate our children.

stonepost said...

I suspect there is plenty of blame to go around, enough for everyone.
We are now number 23! That is our rating in the world as far as education goes. Yeah, #23! USA!
The question is, what do we do now?

Kay said...

I have no answers that make any sense..Like Tiffany I had to teach my own when the public school system failed them here in Utah. A story too ugly and long to go into here. I hated meeting with the beaten down teachers who could barely find it within themselves to meet with me much less remember who my kids were. I blame people who teach because they can't do anything else. The poorly written letters, the inability to impart information or even put a sentence together. I felt like an absolute genius around these loser teachers. Knowing I had great caring teachers when I was in school in the late 50's,60's and 70's made this even worse. One or two good teachers for my kids and one or two bad teachers for me. What has happened? The fact that my oldest dropped out of high school and I had to call them and let them know..they never called, asked after him, cared. Utah pays the least amount per student out of all 50 states. But handing them more money has not worked. The education systems are like a black hole..suck in our tax money and spit out generic, imbeciles on the other end. This is not to disrespect the good teachers who have great ideals and skills and yet have to put up with parents who are working 3 jobs, kids raised on TV and McDonalds, Politicians who want to tell them how and what to teach, imposing ridiculous testing and hoops to jump through. I am not sure who to blame, but I do know my sons with hard hard work have managed to be productive good men. No thanks to the Utah public school system.

Tiffiny said...

Well said Kay. I'm also in Utah and your absolutely right on with everything you said. Makes it tough on the kids starting off.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Tiffiny, I suspect you and Kay aren't always the typical parents. I would have and did supplement what my kids learned in school. Why? Because I love my kids more than anything and I suspect you do as well. Unfortunately, I have subbed and spent much of my time trying to deal with behavioral issues, many of which stemmed from a lack of attention at home. Teachers don't have the time to teach the basics that should be taught at home, such as washing hands after using the potty, teaching kids not to be mean to each other, giving attention to a child who acts out because they are lost, forlorn, and forgotten. You've seen kids going to school unwashed, uncombed, and wildly mismatched with disheveled clothes, no breakfast, no lunch, and unfortunately, no dinner. While I realize our economy and a lack of education for the parents all play into this, still and yet, that child needs to be cared for and loved. The teachers job is to teach, not to provide those basic necessities.

Teachers...good teachers...can make the learning experience exciting, garner some excitement, dig a little deeper. That I give you. There are many teachers who don't care. But there are many more who do and who have to use their time dealing with outside issues. They also are forced to teach to the test rather than developing the subject at hand so the student learns enough to pass. Not the way it used to be, not the teacher's fault when there are constraints and numbers that have to be met. Just sayin'...