Dropout factories, Blacks, and Latinos

In the USA, 7000 students drop out of  high school every day. That is one dropout every 26 seconds. (http://www.rense.com/general92/7000.htm)

Graduation rates in the USA

The loss of these students, which is spiraling even higher, has an adverse economic effect. According to The National Journal (September 22, 2009), the “nation’s economy lost roughly $335 billion in additional income” from these same students who no longer qualify for more than the most menial jobs that pay the lowest wages (usually in the service industry).  Today high schools throughout the USA see only 60% of their enrollment graduating. The remaining 40% go on to welfare, a life of crime or prostitution (which is legal in Louisiana unless the sex worker engages in “unnatural sex” acts: oral or anal, for which she or he can be permanently labeled a “sex offender” along with paedophiles and rapists {http://act848.com/content1c.htm; cp. http://www.lasocpr.lsp.org/socpr; cf. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/06/new-orleans-sex-crime-felony_n_858180.html?asid=f6348f6e}, while in Florida the state legislature passed twin bills outlawing the wearing of baggy pants and bestiality {http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/42920080/ns/local_news-miami_fl/}).

Robert Scott (Texas Education Commissioner) and Governor Rick Perry (R-TX)

Texas, one of the states with the worse human rights records in the USA and an increasingly poor education system now that the Tea Party and evangelical extremists control the state’s boards of education and controls the Texas State Education Commissioner Robert Scott (appointed by Governor Rick Perry (R) on October 16, 2007) who has a record of being absent from legislative debates on Texas education(http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/robert-scott/texas-education-commissioner-absent-from-hearings/ Scott, according to his official biography, has a JD from the University of Texas School of Law and has no formal educational service: he was a never a teacher, and his academic work was lackluster; the office of Texas Commissioner of Education is an appointed (not elective) office at the will of the Governor, and his has been labeled as a “pay back” because of his open partisanship; his lack of ability or knowledge of education can be read here: https://webspace.utexas.edu/dib73/Bolnicklab/OpenLetter.pdf?uniq=i1dfc7; under his tenure Texas experienced some of the most nefarious layoffs of teachers, and even a reduction of the Texas Education Agency, which oversees all public schools, by 20%: http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/layoffs-begin-at-texas-education-agency), developed a unique way of handling the dropout problem: to ban the hiring of high school dropouts (http://ednews.org/articles/texas-education-chief-suggests-voluntary-ban-on-hiring-dropouts.html).

Dropout Rate Table in USA

Various Texas business associations and including Hispanic civil rights groups LULAC and MALDEF have gone on record that the real dropout rate in Texas is as high as 30%–not the official 12% given by the Texas Education Association (http://www.newser.com/story/65773/texas-education-chief-stop-hiring-dropouts.html). Scott commented: “It would send a powerful message to these kids to stay in school. It would be better for them, better for businesses and better for the state in the long run” (ref. http://educationfrontblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/08/hiring-school-dropouts.html).  The Texas education system is so weak it allows students to pass with a marginal grade of 75%, and reading is undermined by Texas libraries cutting library hours, book acquisitions, and special programs to encourage and develop reading. 

When bored, students will find other diversions

What Texas, and the world, needs (in my opinion) is an educator to head and oversee education in all schools–not a political crony.  Cronyism, more than any other diabolical design has destroyed education.  Cronyism has allowed administrators to hire friends as faculty who are incompetent, and to remove competent faculty because the educator is not popular with the students, something that is common everywhere.  What is destroying education in Texas and Iowa is the same tragedy that is ruining education in Perú and Russia–favoritism, cronyism, and the desire to be “loved” by the students who do not learn nor have any desire to master data or know how to use it.

One of the reasons for the high rate of school dropouts is because there are “dropout factories”: schools that graduate any student who enters, hires poor or totally unqualified teachers, who either do not have a library or a collection that is marginal, and where attendance is considered more important than participation, speaking, writing correctly (most accept and some encourage vulgar (street) English, or where the administration from department chairs to academic deans take a neutral position and do not get personally involved in and with the educational process. Students tend to rule, and their decisions on what is a good teacher (the usual refrain is “he is kind” or “she does not require homework”) qualifies or disqualifies teachers rather than the educator’s education and publication record that is in print following peer review. These dropout factories are becoming similar if not identical to the bad schools the liter Latin America and northern Africa.

Dropout Rate in Los Angeles, CA (USA)

In the USA, 38% of those who dropout of school of African-Americans. 33% of all Latinos and Latinas drop out of school in the USA without graduating. 81% of all Native Americans (Indians) drop out of school in the USA without graduating. They have one thing in common.  They feel unchallenged, unappreciated, or are “gifted” with a passing grade that is low by any standard except in Third World nations which are corrupted especially by poor programs (such as the IB Programme) or institutes that exist for profit.

The real problem is that education is abysmal at its inception. The start begins in the elementary schools that have an inequitable access to high-quality preschool. This lack of quality is further exacerbated by the unequal distribution of qualified quality teachers in elementary schools and “summer learning” programs euphemistically termed as “workshops” or “remedial” seminars–when the teachers do not even have the earned bachelor’s degree and are anything but subject-matter experts.

By the time the primary student moves into the secondary level of education, low-income students from both rural and urban backgrounds where the parents (or parent if from a single-parent home) work excessive hours for low wages and find not time to help the child with his or her homework. In homes like these the primary goal is to eat, watch noneducative television, drink alcohol, and have sex–usually leading to more unnecessary and frequently unwanted children who are born into evangelical and Roman Catholic homes because of their church’s stand against birth control in all forms (including abortion).  It cannot and must not be understated that the role of the family (united or nuclear) is of the most critical importance, for if the student feels or assumes that the parent(s) do/does not care, the child will not show any appreciation, respect, or interest in the educational process. If the child is on a first-name basis with the parent(s), then the student will demand to be on a first name basis with the teacher, and all separation that enhances learning through respect disappear as the students sees the teacher whom is addressed by his or her first name as a peer and even a friend with whom the student can share a cold drink, watch a movie, or even have sex, and as friends, can expect a passing grade.  The last thing I would ever let a student do is address me by my first name, as such action shows not only a diminishing of the educator’s stand and standard but also a contempt for the teacher’s education and knowledge.

The majority of these low-income students attend too-large of schools that offer them near-to-complete anonymity so that they can recede into the woodwork: never having to talk, building up a psychological phobia against intercommunication with other students or the teacher, and become shy, retiring, and eager to dropout or go to a specialized institute such as a one that offers “courses” in auto mechanics or home economics. Conversation classes are without dialogue–the teachers speak; the students write notes to one another, doze, or read material that has nothing to do with the day’s topic.

Dropout Rate by Race (USA)

Students that stay in high schools from two to four years (or more if they are kept behind because of low grades and poor learning techniques which are generated by “teachers” who “want to be loved” rather than learn the facts necessary to secure a quality of life that their parents have not enjoyed) lack basic critical knowledge and skills. When this happens, the marginal student falls further behind and watches his or her chance of graduating from the school rapidly diminish.

Bored students in a classroom as expressed by their body language

For many students, school is boring and pointless. Few of these students have ever been sufficiently challenged. Books are mundane and routine, there is no guided conduct of inquiry, and teachers do not demand original thinking or writing in fear that the student will rebel.  Students, however, have shown repeatedly in surveys and on examinations that they want and will do better when they are addressed and treated as individuals who are capable of learning and want to master knowledge and interpret it correctly. Interpretation of subject matter, sadly, is the least taught subject and few students have any concept of what interpretation is or means. Most students see interpretation as a handmaiden (or even the bride) of rephrasing (that is, a form of “translation).  Interpretation is neither translation nor redaction.

Addicted to PowerPoint

Since schools are seen as stuffy and the teachers boring because they cannot bring in outside concepts into the classroom (few teachers think of addressing such critical issues as climate change and environmental hazards in an art, language, or music class) and each class becomes one-subject oriented. The fault is with the schools that do not address each teacher candidate to see if that individual has a genuine universal grasp of education (a Weltanschauung that is far more than any epistemology, and learning and teaching strategies are more than how and when to open a book, introduce a provocative article, use a PowerPoint–which is overused in most classrooms, or play a tape).

The only way to change this is to change the thinking of the students, the teachers, the directors, the academic deans, and the presidents or principals of all academic institutions.  This requires ending cronyism and focusing on learning. This will happen when

  • Teachers work at changing the lives of the students by showing different opportunities and addressing the individual needs of each student.
  • Teachers, administrators, and boards of education silence the insidious voices that argue that the poor or the slow-learners cannot learn, but work at enabling the learning process by offering more than a bad text-book or a canned speech, unfortunately so common in the IB Programme that exists in all nations, even found in Tucson, Arizona as it is in Chiclayo, Perú.
  • Teachers serve openly as role models: not focusing on a person’s skin pigmentation, age, weight, religion, sexual orientation, or other external criteria, but upon the innate ability and intellect of the student by affirming that the student can learn.

Administrators can help students learn by keep class sizes reasonably small (although there is the perceived necessity today of increasing class sizes because ignorant local, state or provincial, and national governments have been taken over by “fiscal conservatives” who would rather see tax cuts extended for the rich in a fantasy world of supply side economics, or theological terrorists who want all people to affirm the same principles of their ontologies regardless if it is Shiite, Sunnite, Christian, Jewish, or other. Bad teachers must be replaced.

Minister of Education Antonio Chang tested the teachers of Perú in 2007

Perú had an exceptional opportunity when Antonio Chang tested 180,000 teachers and only 151 passed with a submarginal grade of 11.5 in the year 2007 (see: “Teacher Tests in Perú,” at http://www.quickanded.com/2008/04/teacher-tests-in-peru.html, yet retained the teachers since the nation would have had to close its schools.  This same problem exists in Alabama (which consistently ranks between 42 and 47th in the USA, and where the average income is only 60% of what other states pay their workers; see: http://www.al.com/birminghamnews/stories/index.ssf?/base/news/120954343199410.xml&coll=2), Mississippi (the dropout rate is officially at 16.7% but statistics show that it is at 29%; see: http://www.mpbonline.org/news/story/mississippi-high-school-dropout-rates-rise), Iowa (in Iowa, the high school dropout rate is 23%: http://qctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/iowa/article_5e07684a-1a75-11de-a963-001cc4c002e0.html), Texas (the dropout rate in Texas is 28.1%; see: http://www.texastribune.org/texas-education/high-school-dropouts/the-texas-high-school-dropout-problem/; see my comments on the problem of Texas education under Texas Education Commissioner and political appointee Robert Scott at http://ednews.org/articles/texas-education-chief-suggests-voluntary-ban-on-hiring-dropouts.html?comment_id=7733#comment_7733) and other states where legislatures are pursuing anti-intellectual programs. This will increase with the Tea Baggers success in the USA Congress. Today 74% of all GOP Senators do not believe in science; the number is higher in the House. In the State of Iowa, Annette Sweeney (R-Alden) has, on record, a degree in English, but in her autobiography shows little knowledge of the rules of capitalization, and in bills she allegedly authored exhibits a weak knowledge of vocabulary and the meaning of words. Her dumbing down of correct English makes it easier for weak students to justify their own unwillingness to learn; she obviously has never studied science and cosponsored a resolution (HJR [House Joint Resolution] 3) that a human being begins at the time a human sperm fertilizes a human egg as she is outspoken in her assault on women who would dare to exercise their personal right to decide the destiny of their bodies and spits that men in legislative office know more than the women who have to make difficult decisions concerning their own lives, her rhetoric matching that of Adolf Hitler and his spiritual mentor Martin Luther who proclaimed that women must be subject to the control of men (Luther misses no opportunity to stress the primacy of the male partner. Why did God give Adam the commandment that man is not to eat from the tree of knowledge even before Eve had been created (Genesis 2:17: ומעץ הדעת טוב ורע לא תאכל ממנו כי ביום אכלך ממנו מות תמות׃). Subtle by emphatic, this shows Luther’s thinking that a woman should not receive the Word of God without mediation; rather Eve was to learn it from Adam (which is not what the ancient texts shows; rather it shows that woman was stronger than man as she argued with the Satan (a word that means Advocate) while man cowered behind bush(es) afraid). Luther concludes, reluctantly, “even before the fall the ruling power and governance was with the male person.” It is not fully convincing when it is claimed that according to Luther “women would have remained equal to men in all respects” if Eve had not sinned. (D. Martin Luthers Werke: kritische Gesammtausgabe Weimarer Ausgabe vol. 24:72, 80, 107, 113; cp. Blaisdell, Charmarie J., “Women in the Lutheran and Calvinist Movements,” in Triumph over Silence: Women in Protestant History, ed. Richard L. Greaves (Westport: Greenwood Press, 1985), pp. 15-16. Although this view does occur in the lectures of 1535, it is also contradicted there: WA 42:87 against 51. See also Wiesner, Merry E. “Nuns, Wives, and Mothers: Women and the Reformation in Germany,” in Women in Reformation and Counter-Reformation Europe. ed. Sherrin Marshall (1898) (Bloomington: Indiana University Press), p. 12). Luther, Hitler, and Sweeney have unique biblical interpretations, such as why the Hebrew designation ‘issa (אישה or woman) derived from ‘is (גבר or man; its origin is from the Sanskrit for “lord” (महिला where as in Urdu it actually is رب and means “beginning”) and referred to the property owner of land) in Genesis 2:23: because it shows that the woman owes her name to the man and that, again, “he retains the ruling power (ויאמר האדם זאת הפעם עצם מעצמי ובשר מבשרי לזאת יקרא אשה כי מאיש לקחה־זאת׃).” For the same reason, as Luther reasoned, why Gods ask in the singular, “Adam, where are you?” (Genesis 3:9:  וְהַנָּחָשׁ, הָיָה עָרוּם, מִכֹּל חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה,
אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יְהוָה אֱלֹהִים; וַיֹּאמֶר, אֶל-הָאִשָּׁה) as it shows “that God confers the office of ruling, teaching, and preaching to the male person.” Similarly on Gen 3:20: וַיִּקְרָא הָאָדָם שֵׁם אִשְׁתֹּו חַוָּה כִּי הִוא הָיְתָה אֵם כָּל־חָי׃  with a reference to 1 Peter 3:7: οι ανδρες ομοιως συνοικουντες κατα γνωσιν ως ασθενεστερω σκευει τω γυναικειω απονεμοντες τιμην ως και συγκληρονομοι χαριτος ζωης εις το μη εκκοπτεσθαι τας προσευχας υμων).  Sweeney’s mistrust of women to make intelligent decisions concerning their own body goes beyond even that of Luther; and (HF [House File] 639) “a bill for an act providing an exemption for electrical installations on farms from licensing and inspections, and including effective date provisions” so that large agribusiness in Iowa can be free from laws regulating safety. These unique protestations poised as bills are not the greatest insult to education by Sweeney. Instead the Alden, Iowa Tea Bagger has mangled the English language more when she addresses legislation to “kids”–a word that means goats, “kids” being the vulgar or informal idiomatic expression for children (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/kid).  The origin of “kid” is found c.1200, “the young of a goat,” from Old Norse (Norwegian) kið  “young goat,” from Proto-Germanic kiðjom  (cf. German kitz ). An extended meaning of “child” among illiterate farmers and a word that created laughter is first recorded as slang in 1599, but is established in informal usage by 1840s. Ms. Sweeney claims to have a BA in English from Concordia College in Seward, NE with a minor in coaching, and boasts of being a strong religious adherent who goes to church regularly, but shows no knowledge of basic Greek, Latin, Hebrew and definitely no German which would be essential tools for any “strong religious adherent”. If Sweeney had any knowledge of language she would know that a kid was food being familiar with Genesis 27:9; 38:17; and Judges 6:19: וגדעון בא ויעש גדי־עזים ואיפת־קמח מצות הבשר שם בסל והמרק שם בפרור ויוצא אליו אל־תחת האלה ויגש׃ ס; and 14:6. The Mosaic law forbade to dress a kid in the milk of its dam (or mother), a law which is repeated three times: in Exodus 23:19; 34:26; and, Deuteronomy 14:21–but only because it was associated with the worship of other agricultural (pagan) gods that were more popular than the YHWH of the invading Apiru (Hebrews).  This, regretfully, is how education is dumbed-down, especially in Iowa where little thought is given to the educational qualifications and credentials for state representatives and senators.

2 comments to Dropout factories, Blacks, and Latinos

  • Sharon Treinen  says:

    We all lose with the increasing numbers of dropouts in our schools. Your research and the statistics should frighten all our Legislators and yet they are underfunding/cutting education. Education of all ethnic groups changes the qualification of the educators and I am not convinced the training of teachers has adapted to the reality of our changing composition of America. (Perhaps a detailed analysis of the recent census should be a focus.) Certainly, you cannot mix politics or religion in the schools. There have been schools in very low economic areas that have hired innovative educators and dropouts have decreased, test scores and enthusiasm/interest have risen. The increase of those enrolled in colleges has also jumped as a result. Those schools should be a model for all to follow with new innovations in sciences, math and applied learning. Interestingly, the educators are paid less than usual and have peer review.

    In rereading your blog, I cannot fail to mention the reality of rural Iowa. Many do not have a defined family with any stability due to divorce, out-of-wedlock births and struggles economically due to low wage jobs/little education. It is a prevalent problem and likely an issue in all rural areas. Preschool education and continued education can break this chain of dependence on welfare programs as families perpetuate this type of existence. The challenge remains another reality that must be considered.

  • Joe Besse  says:

    How timely that I read this today. This morning’s paper had the news that the idiots in Austin have a new plan that will settle the Texas budget for 2012 & 2013 that protects the tax payers with no new/higher taxas. The budget is to be cut $15 billion. $4 billion of that is cuts to education. Tea baggers win, Texas school kids loose. Texas is already nbr 42 in the nation. Let’s see if we can get lower than that. Texas highschool graduates are barely qualified to work at a fast food joint. In a couple of years they won’t be qualified to sweep up the trash those joints create. But, there is a reason for this madness, I think. Under educated “graduates” create cheap labor for all those new jobs brought to Texas under the Perry-winkly tax free umbrella that attracts them….

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