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Sunday, December 26, 2010

Drop Outs

Kids’ dropping out of school is a huge problem and not just for the dropouts themselves and it was rightfully identified as such in a recent Times Union editorial. Dropping out not only handicaps the future of the children that do so but also likewise damages society. However the following isn’t about those kids it’s about the significant amount of students who somehow mange to pass the “minimum standards” and graduate ill prepared for college, the workforce or life.

Florida State College at Jacksonville reports that seventy percent of recent graduates have to take remedial courses. Business owners also report having a hard time finding qualified workers from the pool of recent graduates. If local dropouts are costing Jacksonville millions of dollars how much money are they costing us? In a way school is even more tragic for them. They stayed all the way through and then aren’t ready for anything.

One of the biggest reasons kids drop out is the counties insistence on a one size fits all curriculum that has every child on a “go to college track.” Do you know what the difference in classes between a kid with 130 IQ, who loves school and wants to be a doctor and a kid with an IQ of 90, who hates school who wants to drive trucks, is? The answer is there is none, both children are expected to take and pass the same classes to graduate.

We have serious problems with our education system in Jacksonville, problems that are not going to get better unless the powers-that-be entertain the thought that different children have different desires, needs and abilities. Dropouts sad to say are only a small part of the real problems we have here.

Chris Guerrieri

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