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Education The Panacea

March 2, 2010

I found this fascinating quote today from my old the blog of my old Critical Inquiry Professor Michael LaBossiere

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Obama noted that people who do not finish highschool make less money than graduates, are more likely to be unemployed and are more likely to engage in undesirable behavior, such as committing crimes. His proposed solution is to take steps to make it more likely that children will finish school.aphilosopher.wordpress.com, A Philosopher’s Blog, Mar 2010

You should read the whole article

Are you done reading the article? OK good. One of the things that is often neglected when discussing drop out rates is that sometimes dropping out is not the result of disinterest in, or unwillingness to learn. It is not the result of poor teaching, or standardized test. The choice does not have it’s roots in lack of funding for texts books, field trips, or computers, but it is the result of something that is a little more basic. The need to eat.

In the neighborhood where I grew up there was nearly a decade break in between my sister’s graduation, and that of the previous graduates from when the neighborhood was a Black middle class enclave. That decade break coincided the Crack pandemic, and the rise in street gangs as the surrogate families for a lot of young people. Those street gangs fed a lot of my friends who were orphaned by crack, and I am not using orphaned in a figurative sense. In many neighborhoods around the country you could count the amount of fathers on one hand, in my neighborhood you could do the same with mothers. This parenting vacuum left a lot of hungry children, and the older children were tasked with feeding their younger siblings. Doing this while going to school full time was nigh impossible when you factor in the other bills that needed to be paid. So a lot of young men and women deferred or forgot their dreams, dropped out of school, hit the block full time, and in the process lost a generation. Nicer books would not have made a difference to them. Neither would a sparkling new gymnasium. Money had to be put in the mailbox, by any means necessary, and the only means left to them was to work on their wrist game.
Rhetoric about drop out rates that does not recognize and confront poverty, and the immediate needs of those caught up in it does nothing for those it intends to help.  Just my last two dollars.

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