Are we doing enough to help children from low social-economic conditions graduate high school? Take a second and think about it, our city is filled with people who chose to dropout for various reasons. Some may be attracted to the fast money of selling drugs, and others may not be interested enough in pursuing something that has such a delayed gratification feeling as simplifying finishing school. Regardless of the situation, Reading is no different than any city in this country where the students of our inner-city schools are dropping out in record numbers. And even if they do graduate most are not even qualified to enlist in the military even if they wanted too. Nearly 1 in 4 who try to enlist in the military aren’t able to pass basic writing, reading, or math tests required to become a member of the armed services. According to the Secretary of Education Arne Duncan:
“Too many of our high school students are not graduating ready to begin college or a career – and many are not eligible to serve in our armed forces, I am deeply troubled by the national security burden created by America’s underperforming education system.”
It is becoming very concerning that not only are our schools not doing enough to prevent record numbers of dropouts, but they are also failing in prepare our students for the future. According to the Pentagon’s own data, 75% of applicants from age 17 to 24 don’t qualify because they either have a criminal record or didn’t graduate high school. Could there possibly be a correlation with student who don’t graduate high and the likely hood that they will commit crimes? I won’t say for sure if that correlation exists, but it does make a lot of sense. It’s not easy living when you don’t have a basic high school education anywhere in the country– if you need proof of that, you don’t have to look around too far– Reading is a classic backdrop for what I’m talking about. I don’t have any stats or any figures to give you guys, but I will go out on a limb and say that: the majority of crimes committed in this city are from people who never graduated from high school.
I know that our teachers and our school administrators are not to blame enirtely for the problems facing our schools today. I believe we all share some of the blame. We should all have a vested interest in educating the future of this country, of our communities, of our cities. But we have failed and I frankly don’t see any change in the situation. Our children are dropping out and are frankly setting themselves up for a life full of hardships and financial troubles, which are troubles that are shared by all. Take this stat: a study done out of the state of Missouri states
“Each high school dropout costs the state $4,000 a year in lost taxes and higher Medicaid and prison costs. Another estimated that the U.S. economy would miss out on $335 billion in lifetime earnings compared with what it would reap had the high school dropouts of 2009 earned their diplomas.
Take that last line of the quote that I pulled, sit there and let it stir up a little bit in your mind. Yup, $335 BILLION in lost income to the overall U.S. economy. That is such a staggering statistic, image if we could show every student in our inner-cites that each time one of them dropout, they lose x amount of dollars in what they could achieved in their lifetimes. Do you guys think this could be possibly be one of the tools that we use to help convince these kids to stay in school, even if these school fail to prepare them academically all at the same time? I mean some education is better than no education, right? How can we work together to ensure that the children of our neighborhoods are being educated in a manner that prepares them for the global economy? No one has all the answers, but together collectively we can figure out the solutions to the problems confronting our education system here in this country. Together we can!! It starts with just one person, now is not the time to leave our children behind in the dark. Let’s make it happen?