Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Reckoning Day



And this is a call to arms
This is a call to hands
This is a call to the voices and the minds
Of the people in every land


            "Reckoning Day"

                      The Rainmakers


A story online, and on the nightly news, made me gasp in horror, and almost feel sick to my stomach.

"Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a report released Tuesday. In Detroit's public schools, 24.9 percent of the students graduated from high school, while 30.5 percent graduated in Indianapolis Public Schools and 34.1 percent received diplomas in the Cleveland Municipal City School District. Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time with a regular diploma and about 1.2 million students drop out annually."

How is this acceptable? Can anyone explain? Good God, this is disastrous. Colin Powell and his wife have started a new alliance to address the issue, which Powell calls "a catastrophe." That could be an understatement. I was especially shocked to see that Indianapolis graduates only 30.5% of its students. That's abominable. And 70% nationally? Still not even close to acceptable. Powell's group, America's Promise Alliance, wants to address the full scope of the problem, including the family, the school, and the community. I applaud this effort, and I hope he and his group can raise awareness about such an incredibly poor situation. While I do believe that many schools in small districts and less affluent areas are underfunded, and that teachers are woefully underpaid, we tend to think that pouring money mindlessly into schools will magically fix the problems. There are more fundamental problems going on here, and we can't just blame the schools. The family plays a huge part, as does the community, and I'm glad to hear that they are realizing that we can't foist the entire responsibility off on our schools.

I'm amazed at some of the attitudes I encounter. I've heard people say that their kids don't need to get some kind of "fancy" degree. Ain't nothing "fancy" about it, it's pretty much a necessity in today's world and competitive economy. Ken and I have actually been ridiculed for "putting on airs" because we have college degrees. Are you kidding me? (Of course, such an ignorant remark only serves to prove the ignorance of those who issue it.) I understand that not everyone was able to attend college. (I like the idea of student loans for college being forgiven for community or national service. That's a win-win situation.) There's nothing wrong with that, and there are many who have lucrative jobs and successful lives and careers without one. But anyone with kids now simply must recognize that their kids have to get a higher education. It's a competitive world, and America is not keeping up. We are beginning to lag seriously behind in science and technology, and this can't continue. There needs to be a serious paradigm shift, and the first step is to lose that narrow-minded and short-sighted attitude that a college degree doesn't matter, especially for our country's children. In the current atmosphere and global economy, it matters a lot. Our future may depend upon it.



buckoclown said...

The graduation rate is deplorable.  As for college, Bucko must find the silver lining, we have a large number of institutes of higher ecducation, so while we lag the world in high school test scores, we do have a large number of secondary degrees.  Bottom line, if we do not get serious about education, we will become a second rate nation.  Nice Entry Wifey, on several levels. :o)

sanguinelioness said...

Great post!
Just wanted to share my observations about some of the differences I have noticed with  private vs. public school parenting. In the public schools they expect the teachers to do it all. In the private and parochial schools the parents tend to sit with their kids more and help the children with their studying...not do their homework, mind you, but help them study for tests and make sure their work is done. This is not across the board. I live in San Francisco. I have noticed this is a trend. I work with children and I have three kids of my own and two nephews. I am very involved in the my boys' school and know the kids and families. I have many friends who have opted not to send their kids to private school. (SF has really poor public education. I should know I grew up here. My parents started a school and I also went to other private schools after giving the public schools a chance to fail us.) In any event, very FEW of the parents I KNOW help their kids to study or check on their work. My good friend who is a teacher in a public school says the very same thing. The parents expect the teachers to do it all. I think that the parents are an intregral part of the educational process. Not only must we help our children but we must be astute enough to know when they require more help to achieve. There are many programs out there, some cost some don't. If you are already in public school, you can get the extra help for free. If you are in private school, you may need to supplement out out of pocket, but it is worth it.

My children understand that they are expected to not only get a college degree but a graduate degree. That is the standard today...at least where we live. They come from a family where that is the norm and an area where that is what it takes to be competitive in the job market.


luvrte66 said...

Laura, thanks for the great comment. I'm sure you're quite right about public schools vs. private schools, which is a shame. While I attended a public school, it was in a rural area and very small. I know the larger city schools can be a big problem. I find this awful. Experiences can really vary, depending on the kid and his/her parents, but based on this recent report, I'd say we're in big trouble.

Thanks for stopping by!

slapinions said...

I've been subject to a snort or chuckle because I (gasp) graduated from college, so I know what you're saying about that. And as someone burdened by student loans, I'd LOVE for them to be forgiven in exchange for communtiy service.



queeniemart said...

my daughter is basically putting herself thru college at a GOOD Ohio college.....she wants a life in 3-4 yrs where there is no struggle, as she has known all her life. There is also a huge crisis in my Ohio city with the dropout rates. So many kids here just want the easy way out or are on drugs. I keep telling friends and family that the drug problem in my area is COMPLETELY out of control. I know many teens or young adults who would rather do drugs than go to school. The envirnoment, the parenting or non parenting they have had contributes greatly to this attitude. I see clearly that we, as adults, NEED to take interest in teenagers and talk to them and with them. it makes a world of difference if a teenager who is on the edge of quitting then learns an adult really does care.
HUGS, lisa