The journey from there to here

I heard an educator this past week report that high school dropouts are at an all time high. A few google searches seem to confirm this; that as recently as 2003, only 70% of our high school students are getting their degree in four years. While it's hard to find reliable stats for the last few years (in part because some of the students may go back), it seems this trend is indeed occurring among our young children.

The irony is that this apparent epidemic is not even mentioned in the national debate. And while it's all well and good to debate health care, the fact is that giving a child twice yearly doctor visits courtesy of the American taxpayer certainly will do nothing to improve their future. A long, productive life without education just means that McDonald's will have an employable workforce into their golden years.

While there's a tendency to blame educators(and some will), my experience with educators (and I have had a LOT of experience with educators) would tend to indicate otherwise. Sure, I've met my share of teachers working out their retirement, but for every one of those, I've met five or six bright eyed teachers who are excited about the difference they are making in the lives of their students. And judging any group by its "bad apples" is poor policy.

No, while I am sure there are many reasons for the problem, this one's a good one to lay square at the feet of our legislators. When NCLB was first proposed, I laughed at the ridiculous concept of trying to raise every child up to the national average. At the time, I DID blame legislators, but a friend who was a high school principal reminded me that this legislation was drafted by politicians, rather than legislators.

The truth is, though, we're failing our kids. Students who drop out of high school are statistically more likely to end up on the bad side of just about every statistic unimaginable. Higher unemployment, lower median income, higher crime rate, higher mortality rate among young name it. And the reasons why are beyond obvious to anyone with even a small amount of intelligence.

If our legislators won't put fixing the problems they created on the national agenda, it is up to us to do so. This is one area where our future truly hangs in the balance.

on Apr 15, 2008

I think a better question might be are parents failing their children.


on Apr 16, 2008
If our legislators won't put fixing the problems they created on the national agenda,

NO. Wrong premise! They should not be even trying. Yes, the parents are the first line of defense, but when it comes down to it, it is at the local level that the problems can and will (or wont) be fixed. The national level will only add more bureaucracy for brain dead administrators to play with. They will fix nothing.

on Apr 16, 2008
Federal government dealing with education is part of the problem.  The major factor is parents themselves.

on Apr 16, 2008
Federal government dealing with education is part of the problem.

Exactly. "Fixing" in my opinion means "eliminating all federal control".

Yes, parents are a major part of the problem, but we live in a society that insists on raising our kids for us, then blames parents for the failures. You can't have it both ways, frankly.

NCLB was a disastrous piece of legislation that is not helping the problem.