Combating the Education Crisis - Tips For Educators
Dec 17, 2009 Other 2278 Views
As our nation continues to combat the remnants of tough economic times, we must not forget to forge ahead without taking a closer look at the state of our educational systems. With over 1.2 million students dropping out of school each year, this in itself is playing a major factor in the downturn of our economy. Reports, such as the America's Promise Alliance has estimated that $302 billion dollars in wages are lost each year due in part to the drop out crisis. The impact is substantial but the real issue however, is the drastic predicament that it places our country's most valuable asset in...OUR YOUTH!
Serving on the frontline of this dilemma are educators, who are directly responsible for dealing with these issues. Now, more than ever, educators are faced with teaching despite serving in under-funded, underperforming schools with little to no support from top administrators and parents. More importantly, they are expected to recognize these detrimental characteristics and provide some level of intervention in an effort to reduce the number of casualties. The job is tough and the stress can be read across the faces of millions of teachers within our American schools, particularly within urban communities.
If we are to ever rectify this haunting situation, we must engage in greater conversation regarding this profound issue. More importantly, we must place greater emphasis on teacher preparation, particularly first year educators serving students within distressed communities. Educational leaders must pay attention to the vast research suggesting "many students who drop out of high school send strong distress signals for years" (Neild, Balfanz, & Herzog, pg. 28). This information is invaluable in our efforts to combat this pressing issue by providing districts with insight in determining how best to use dollars for intervention programs.
To begin, researchers determined that a "high percentage of dropouts send distress signals in the middle grades. The research signified that 6th graders with one of the following signals had at least a three in four chance of dropping out of school: a.) A final grade of F in mathematics b.) a final grade of F in English c.) attendance below 80 percent for the year and d.) a final "unsatisfactory" behavior mark in at least one class.
As educators, we generally identify our professional responsibility only as being required to teach a specific curriculum. For many reasons, both personally and professionally we negate the opportunity to serve as a scout for students who may fall into the drop out category.
Once we begin to open ourselves up to the power of motivation we will remain mindful of our importance despite the millions of other barriers that we face as educators. From my professional experience and research I encourage educators to recognize that warning signals are typically signs of other more pressing issues such as:
1. struggling academic skills and motivation
2. little support for schooling at home
3. social and emotional challenges requiring significant attention
To recognize and understand the severity of these issues serves us well as educators, intervention specialist and educational leaders. It is imperative that we begin to play closer attention to these signals and address the issues as early as possible. The reality is that teachers are monumental in combating the drop out crisis and ensuring that ALL of AMERICA's YOUTH are Successful.