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Graduation: Not For The 20%

graduation ratesFor the past several years we as a nation have seen the lowest graduation rates in a decade. The interest of blame has been presented to the American public in the areas of unqualified teachers and even a technological society that pushes student’s attention from education. No matter the true cause, graduation rates are low. 

Legislation such as No Child Left Behind was created to help bolster the potential for students to graduate. That act had its first graduating class in 2005 and the nation reported just below 80%. In the few years after that great success, the national average fell below 75%. In the past few years teacher moral is at its lowest point and students are continuing to slip. With new statistics about education coming in each day, our educational system has become an increasing concern. Currently, the national average is eight out of every ten children will graduate from high school. Unfortunately schools have taken comfort with this rate and that number has been consistent for several years now. Schools believe that the closer to 80% they get, it’s a success. But what about those two out of ten that don’t make it? Where are they?

I have spent many years looking at our local educational system and what we can do to improve it. The cold hard fact is that getting all students to succeed is difficult. Schools simply cannot afford to help those few that fall behind. Special programs and even special schools implement programs to try and close that 20% gap. I’m sure most of you have noticed lately that our states struggle with funding public schools. To me this means that those students that should be helped definitely won’t be helped with lack of funding.

As with any call to action we must start small. This means dedicating time to some of those youth that the system may have forgotten about. I can honestly say that if someone were to dedicate one hour a week to help tutor or mentor a struggling youth that they would have a nearly perfect chance to succeed. Many times it takes listening to someone who is struggling for the student to figure out what path to be on. I have had the pleasure to work with youth that struggle in school for many years. What I have found more times than not is that they are simply confused about school or life or perhaps the future. Often these students are very smart and capable, but they have not had anyone ask to help. So to help continue to extinguish this problem we need to simply dedicate the time to ask “what can I do to help?”.
Seth B
Business Leader, Lecturer, Author
Johnson & Wales University
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