Our Dysfunctional High Schools…

America’s public school system has traditionally served our culture as an institution of equal opportunity in American society – but it is failing and failing badly. June is graduation month and if you take time to quickly examine many schools, you will find that millions of high-school students will not be graduating and that the shear number of non-graduates is at an all time high. A new report from the U.S. Department of Education reveals that more than 1 million students will fail to graduate high school this year and that the core of these students are primarily present in minority communities across the country. Almost 50% of Black and Hispanic male students drop out of public high school by the 10th grade. The most miserable areas for public education in general are Detroit, where only 25 percent of students will graduate, Cleveland at 35%, Baltimore at 35%, Dallas at 46%, New York at 45% and Los Angeles at 45%. In my opinion, these are appalling. Many education analysts and experts believe that the current education crisis is all the more problematic given the ultra-competitive nature of the global economy and the direct effect that the global economy has on the domestic socio-economic dynamic in the states.

The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that each high school dropout earns approimately $260,000 less than a high school graduate over his or her lifetime. These dropouts also put additional strain on social and welfare programs. In fact, high school dropouts make up nearly half of heads of all households on welfare, and also represent over half of our total prison population. Do our insulated leaders in Washington – enscounced in their ignorance – see the cost to our society?

Even more pathetic are the students who do graduate and the grossly inadequate education they are receiving. In low-income schools, students have less than a 2 in 5 chance of being taught by a mathematics or science teacher who holds a degree in the subject he or she teaches at all, much less an advanced degree. This may explain why less than a third of our fourth-grade and eighth-grade students performed at adequate levels in math, and why American 15-year-olds have consistently fallen below the international average in mathematics literacy and problem-solving over the past 15 years. Some professional estimates predict a national shortfall of more than 280,000 math and science teachers by 2015. 

So what is your government doing? You may have guessed – nothing. George W. Bush’s “No-Child-Left-Behind act is long on accountibility and short on substance. You can test students all you want – if they’re only taught to pass the test – your strategy is hollow and void of any life-long skill building that is crucial to the continued success of our culture. The sad truth is – we don’t produce competent doctors, mathmeticians, computer programmers, scientists or anything for that matter, that requires real use of grey matter. How long are we going to let our public school system crumble? Will we finally learn when our GDP begins to shrink and we become one of the ruled instead one of the rulers? If things don’t change, we as a society better be prepared to face the consequnces of our academic mediocrity. Just read the history of Rome America…if you can understand it.

Posted by M Podoba 6/20/07 

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Posted on June 20, 2007, in Education Policy and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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