June 30, 2009

Addressing High School Dropout: Taking a Look Inward

The AT&T Foundation’s  new report, “On the Front Lines of Schools,” sheds light on what educators, students, and parents believe has the greatest impact on high school drop out. The report shows a lot of finger pointing—and only one group actually accepting responsibility for the crisis.  

When asked about reasons why students are disengaged in school and drop out, district-level personnel point out the failures of principals, principals cite the failures of teachers, and teachers rattle off a laundry list of what parents do wrong.

When questioned about the reasons why students chose to discontinue their educations before receiving a diploma, it is rare that the teacher responds “my lessons were boring and disengaging.”  Instead, teachers are much more likely to blame parents and the home environment. Specifically, the report mentions that 74 percent of teachers and 69 percent of principals felt parents bore all or most of the responsibility for their children dropping out. 

Raise your hand if you’ve heard an assistant principal, head principal, dean, or headmaster say “students at my school dropped out because I was not involved in monitoring my staff as it implemented the curriculum.” Frequently, our school-level leaders point their fingers toward low teacher efficacy and poor classroom management.

Show me the parent who states that his daughter did not receive her diploma because “I did not create space, time, and the expectation she complete her homework.” All too often, parents claim that they did not even know that their children were not on track to graduate. 

And please, show me the superintendent or district-level leader who cites her failure to adequately coach, monitor, and evaluate principals as the reason why students do not graduate from high school.  I recently heard district level personnel list 10 things principals don’t do often enough as the reasons why students do not graduate ready for work and college. 

Here’s what’s interesting, though—according to the “Silent Epidemic” report, most students (70%) do actually blame themselves, saying they could graduate if they had tried harder.  Further, the report informs us that “while most dropouts blame themselves for failing to graduate, there are things they say schools can do to help them finish.”

Thus, it appears that everyone else seems to be blaming someone else, except the kids who drop out. What should that tell us?

Our dropout crisis will persist until each of us takes a look at those fingers pointing back at us, and identify our own culpability in our nation’s dropout crisis.

Change will require us to be introspective and acknowledge our own shortcomings. Once we do that, then we might be able to collaborate to present viable solutions to address high school dropout. 


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hello tom if your still around here is the contact
filing address ,ring them if you need them in a hurry ,tell them hentilsy told you to ring

I believe that it is the fault of all, parents, principles, teachers, and the students themselves. I wish we could come up with a solution, I know there is not a silver bullet, every student's situation is different. But too many students are not graduating.

Students do have a fair amount of responsibility for their grades. Yes, the home environment has a lot to do with self-esteem and confidence but students with positive living conditions also have to take their own tests and study for exams.

Attitude & curriculum needs to be addressed
much sooner than at the high school level. I
think relevant curriculum instead to the
generic liberal arts curriculum most school
districts use would help !!!!

As a teacher I have thought about some of the students who dropped out and wondered if I could have done more to encourage them. It seems to me that the biggest problem for those I know has been not the work load, but the outside forces beyond the control of the students or the school.

I agree. Just wanted to see if the blog works.

The intervention needs to start in Elementary and Middle school.

I beleive that change occurs more frequently and we need to adpat to change. We all need to be engaged and solve the problem and not point fingers.

I wonder what the 30% of students blamed for them not graduating.

I agree with you TWills!!!:)

change comes from within

There are many reasons why students drop out but realistically, many of them are out of the control of schools.

Cool Beans!

Thanks for your feedback!

Reasons for students to drop out from school varies. All are to blame.

Hot article

Yea, it works!

Seeing if my blog works

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