How Would You Address the Dropout Crisis?

That's a question KQED is asking as part of the American Graduate, an innovative new program designed to combat the dropout crisis. KQED will be hosting a Teacher Town Hall at 5pm pst March 13 to discuss strategies for keeping young people in school.

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  1. Here's what some said on social media when asked about their ideas for reducing dropout rates.
  2. ‎1) Frame the discussion around being Pushed Out rather than Dropped Out. 2) Read "Pedagogy of the Oppressed" by Paulo Freire; "Subtractive Schooling" by Angela Valenzuela 3) Take some notes from the Mexican American Studies program out in Arizona (contrary to popular belief, it was banned because of its successful graduation rates).
  3. More vocational training, and the realization that college is not for everyone. And that people don't need to e cooped up in a classroom for the first 17 years of their lives. Let people take a minimum track and take vocational training, an...d get them into an apprenticeship program. This would also help support industry in the USA and provide a path to the middle class for more people instead of promising them the world after college, only for the harsh reality of a lifetime of indentured servitude in menial jobs to pay Fannie and Freddie for the rest of their lives.
  4. Stop trying to fit everyone into the same mold; embrace the individuality and differences and allow students to develop their strengths. Not everyone is meant to be an MBA or a scientist or entrepreneur or programmer.
  5. What if we adopted a different school day approach? Year round with long days; if our target is 'drop out factories' then having the child away from home, getting 2 meals a day might help. The curriculum needs to be more advanced and simply... pushing people through is insanity. With the longer school day the whole of the institution can also be a learning process: lunch is no longer 30m but 90m and the lunch staff teaches kids how to cook and prepare simple meals, with fresh produce giving them SOME sense of control in their chaotic lives. Computer labs should be funded and the experience of the Internet should be integrated into a business class teaching kids how to manage their own money and try to make a business using the Internet and computers. We must accept how the world works today and change how education is viewed. "It takes village…" as the adage goes, and the school should function as such; make them beautiful and pleasent to go to: fund the f-cking arts, have agricultural courses, financial courses, design course—hell, extend it past the age of 18 because no one wants to hire just a high school graduate currently. Change the definition of a high school graduate to something good. By making high schools a place pleasent place to grow. If you fixed up the worst schools to make them aesthetically pleasing I can gaurentee it will change how students feel about school, for the better.
  6. The money is the problem.. Get back to the basics Reading Writing and Math in elementary classes, back up the teachers to get disciplinary problems out of the smaller sized classroom so the kids can learn ... In college students should be a...ble to concentrate on the classes of their major ... do not need diversity classes, they only separate people... students should not be loaded down on additional classes outside of their major.. focus on practical classes that have direct use. Only liberal art students need liberal arts classes.... To round round out their overall education basics needed are.. US History, because this is the US! A Basic General Science, and a Art.. either an overall Art History or an Art of their choice.. and Basic English class so they can concentrate on writing... hopefully grammar & spelling has been covered before college! All students need to be able to read, write, and math before college!! Open up enrollment to all students.. too many ethnic scholarships and the regular middle class students cannot afford to attend.. in my case I worked to pay my way but now the costs are so high it is impossible for many!!!
  7. We need to nationalize public education. No more local districts with virtual autonomy and local funding. All public schools need to be funded equally and must comply to strict national standards. This is how they do it in the Nordic countries. We should emulate them.
  8. First, governments have to start investing in education instead of defense. Brighter youths make better choices for the future of America. Second, invest in programs at school like anti-bullying and counseling that supports students mentally. Third, invest in TV programs that show students staying in school.
  9. Charge the parents if their kids aren't in school. Parents need to parent. Period. Having education is SUCH a privilege. Also, stop paying so many people for not working. Enough with the social programs. Kids grow up thinking they don...'t have to earn a living, it'll just be handed to them. Put people who are getting government money to work. Have them do the tons of non-skilled jobs that we hire government workers for: janitors, street sweepers, lunch people, etc. THEN give them the government check. Learn from other successful countries, such as Japan. Yes, Japan.
  10. You know, there are countries that do this better than us in many ways; perhaps we should rethink public school completely. Getting "rid" of it...I am not sure what that means.
  11. bring back real life elective classes, core fundamentals can be taught by computer with teachers-on-demand for questions, lets each student work at their own pace...
  12. Get rid of the public education system.
  13. LAUSD is sending out 11000 reduction in force notices. Do you think that will solve the problem?
  14. Education system has to change. Kids know that school is wasting their time and need to have more challenges, with less time at school.
  15. Well for starters- the budget it's need to be stopped and class sizes need to be decreased. Teachers cannot make deep personal connections with students with 40 kids in the class- and when you are an at risk youth- what motivation do you h...ave to stay in a room crammed with 40 kids? None. You are reduced to just another face on the crowd. However, if class sizes were 20- teachers could connect with each student - giving them reason to come every day
  16. Encourage educators to use techniques that connect with their students world. Students are well-connected via phones, devices, and computers. Many teachers don't seem to get this fact and instead are teaching via books and outdated styles, thus not being compelling to their students. Incorporating technology in the classroom will help the students learn new skills and stay involved.
  17. Stop cookie cutter education. Not is everyone is meant for college. Have open options early on in high school. Forcing children and teens in to the same mold as their peers forces them to doubt their capabilities. When they can't learn the same as everyone else they fall through the cracks and if they lack support at home there is less hope of graduating.
  18. Why do we allow dropping out? Was there a justification? Perhaps, but I don't see that there should be now. End that option, w/out a procedure similar to Emancipation & get students engaged in their education. Beyond that, a zero tolerance policy on bullying!
  19. One of the problems I've encountered is the plethora of "programs" that have been instituted by state & local school boards that only ensure that Federal Funding tied to this "drop-out rate" is not threatened. These include "Independent Stu...dy programs" which allow some HS students to essentially drop-out but get their degrees by doing little or no real academic work, with very little oversight. Too many young people are pushed forward now without even the slightest skills, in math, science or even a sufficient "reading level" acumen. And there's the ridiculously worthless HS Program, designed for teen mothers but open by anyone, wherein they can "test out" of HS and then receive a worthless certificate, unrecognized outside the state of CA and even highly suspect within it, which "grandfather's" them out of ever being able to take the GED. Thankfully I helped persuade my eldest daughter into reconsidering this herself, and she went on to graduate and become a highly successful & creative Florist and Stylist. The key to solving this problem involves dealing with all the other problems, especially jobs! The USA is awash in cash, but it "ain't trickling down" like RayGun promised it would. The focus on Academics needs to be balanced with more practical Vocational oriented skills. We should concentrate on developing alternatives to our real problem, the dominance of the Military/Industrial Complex, including Big Oil and it's subsidiaries, over our economy, environment and political landscape: the promise of a Green economy that got tanked by Obama when he gave Monsanto the keys to the Cabinet.
  20. I don't think throwing money at this problem is the answer. Unless it means hiring more teachers, tutors or truancy officers. How do you instill the desire to learn? Kids need to understand that it's not cool or acceptable to not go to scho...ol, that learning is good for not only themselves but there family (present and future), country and community. Teachers, parents and community need to start instilling this in them as early as possible. We need to get to the point that it is socially unacceptable to not do your best in school. We also need to make tutors more readily available. My kids graduated from high school the past few years and are now continuing their education. It was not easy for them to get extra help when it was needed. Teachers were not always accesible. Tutors are not always available. When I tried to conference with teachers alot of the time the teacher took the high ground and seemed to talk down. The parent, teacher and student partnering needs to drastically improve. The bottom line to me is that if the student doesn't care or want to learn there's nothing that can be done. We need to help the student understand that school has a higher priority then socializing. l don't think money will do this it has to come from parents, friends, teachers and community. Kids will follow the path of least resistance if it's easier not to go to school then so be it. Like a river flowing they will often take the easiest path but someone needs to tell them that without school it may be easier now but up ahead there will be a dam blocking there progress. Again, I don't think money is the answer unless it's to get them the help they need or hold them accountable for not going to school. Which means if a child is not in school someone nees to call and not just leave a message but talk to a parent or go knock on doors. Maybe they should be required to take a career development class. Maybe this would enhance their motivation by showing them that there is an end and purpose to it all.
  21. OUSD has applied for a promise grant which funds early education, community enrichment and parenting workshops - similar to the Harlem baby college. Hayrward Unified has already received one. Start very early - by educating parents and communities the importance of early education and literacy and keep it going throughout. The drop out rate in Oakland and Vallejo are alarming.
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