Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Students Aren’t Failing, We Are

School District

Graduation Rate Percentages

Detroit, MI

21.7%

Baltimore City, MD

38.5%

New York City, NY

38.9%

Milwaukee, WI

43.1%

Cleveland, OH

43.8%

Los Angeles, CA

44.2%

Miami-Dade County, FL

45.3%

Dallas, TX

46.3%

Pinellas County, FL

46.5%

Denver, CO

46.8%

Memphis, TN

48.5%

Broward County, FL

48.7%

Fort Worth, TX

48.9%

Houston, TX

48.9%


I recently came across some statistics that seemed unbelievable to me in America. It appears that in 10 of our largest cities the public school systems are graduating less than half of their students. That is correct they will graduate less than 50% of their students. According to the report compiled by EPE Research and published in the USA Today, there are 14 school districts that graduate less than 50% of their students. This should be a national emergency; except for one small caveat the majority of students in these schools are minorities.

The city of Detroit was by far the worst; their schools will only graduate 25% of their students. This is a travesty on a national scale and yet it goes unnoticed and unreported. So what if only 25% of those black students graduate, what is that to me? What it is to me is a national disgrace. That we allow an entire school district to only graduate 1 in 4 of their students and there is no outcry is a scandal in itself. Where are the protest marchers and the 2 Reverends holding press conferences? Where are the appeals to Congress for investigations? We have too many people making a living on poverty and keeping the forgotten masses of capitalism buried. If we were churning out millions of white kids without diplomas I guarantee you there would be an outcry. There would be rioting in the streets, but a bunch of minorities, silence.

These appalling figures diminish all of us. How can a country, our country accept these graduation numbers from one of our largest cities? How can we accept less than 50% graduation rates from 14 school districts? How can we spend 500 billion dollars in Iraq and have the Detroit School District graduating 25% of its students? We should be bringing every resource we have to bear on this problem, this is unacceptable. We must begin to deal with the systemic problems that lead to 1 in 4 kids graduating. There is an ever widening gap between the haves and the have-nots in this country and news like this only accelerates it. There will be a day of reckoning if we continue to ignore and fail to educate all of our children. Here is a list of the top 14 districts and their graduation percentages.

These are millions of children who will not have the basic tools to earn a living, let alone to progress beyond the inter-generational poverty they were born into. We are beginning to create the class societies of third world countries, of great wealth being concentrated in the hands of a very few people. What happened to the dream that once was America? What will these children have to look forward to, to dream about? A life of menial minimum wage jobs, street crime, or the slow death of addiction, is this the future we want to offer them? Not everyone wants or is able to go to college, but a high school diploma represents the bare minimum one needs to function in our high-tech world. As our world becomes more technology based and there are fewer and fewer manual labor opportunities, we will be sentencing these children to a life without hope for a better tomorrow. Once we remove hope, what shall they have left?

It is amazing to me that we can spend billions of dollars in Iraq, on space exploration, and a host of other military projects, but we have no money to save millions of American kids from a life of hopelessness. It is time we elect a true "education President", one who will provide more than just rhetoric and catchy phrases. A president who will fund the programs needed to correct this gross injustice being perpetrated against America's minority youth. This is just further proof that separate will never be equal, we have not ended segregation in our schools we have just gotten better at disguising it. It has gone from direct racial inequality to an economic mask covering the racial component lurking beneath the surface. How are we to have a society based on equality for all, if we are willing to accept sending millions of minority kids into the world uneducated and untrained for its demands.

Have our children failed? No, we have failed them and continue to do so as long as a school district in this country is allowed to fail at educating ¾ of its students. We have failed them because we have not been willing to accept the challenge of successfully educating them. Can we as a nation afford to throw millions of lives away, millions of minds?

3 comments:

DP said...

Good afternoon. I've been meaning to comment on your blog for a while as I really enjoy your writing. I also think that this post is right on target. Ive linked to it from my blog in a post today. Keep up the good work!

Forgiven said...

Thank you

What is the name and url of your blog?

DP said...

You're welcome, and the url is www.therealready.blogspot.com

 
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