Wednesday, April 23, 2014

A dismal trend

From page A4 | December 28, 2012 | 7 Comments

A couple of stories we printed painted a discouraging portrait of the youth in this country and this state.

“More than 850,000 California teens and young adults, ages 16-24, are neither in school nor working,” according to a new Kids Count report released Dec. 3 by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Children Now.

Calling them “disconnected youth,” the foundation’s report noted that these comprise 18 percent of this age group and it has grown 35 percent since the year 2000.

The foundation cited two programs called “linked learning” — a Law Academy in Richmond and a Digital Media nd Design School in San Diego. Linked learning connects students with real world experience.

Two schools in the entire state just isn’t going to make a dent in the disconnected youth.

The report noted that low-income and minority youth have a higher propensity to be “disconnected.”

The ratio for African-American youth ages 20-24 is one in three, while the national average for all youth in this age group is one in four.

There is a social disconnect for a significant portion of the African-American youth in urban areas. Too many come from single parent homes that lack a father. That’s the bottom-up view. But the top-down view doesn’t look so good either. State legislators and officials have been pushing the idea that every high school student should be taking college preparatory courses. And that is also the mantra from President Obama on down. Obama thinks every high school grad should go to college and he is going to spend all our tax money getting them there. Playing into this college prep track is the absurdity of the No child Left Behind Act where schools have reached the 90 percent level and may be labeled as being in “performance improvement status.”

Ninety percent proficiency in educated students in math and English is pretty good. What is needed is a return to vocational education and a lot more of it, starting in middle school.

“For these students (the 850,000 ‘disconnected’ youth) education alone may not be sufficient relevance,” said Von Ton-Quinlivan, vice chancellor of workforce and economic development with the California Community College Chancellor’s Office. “We need more earn-and-learn strategies, like apprenticeships, where individuals can be brought into the workforce and we build skills in partnership with their employers.”

The McKinsey Center for Government issued a report that said employers, educators and youth “live in parallel universes.”

“Seventy-two percent of the educators surveyed think their graduates are ready for the workforce, while less than half of the employers and youth that were interviewed across nine countries believe that to be the case. Worldwide 75 million youth are not working. The worldwide figure gives a clue why youths are always rioting in Egypt and other Arab countries.

It has been useful to pressure schools to work harder to bring all the students up to a prescribed level of performance. But it is equally important to provide a variety of vocational opportunities. Those opprunities need to be connected with some sort of apprenticeship or intern program to orient young people to the world or work. We need to connect them before they become “disconnected.” This dismal trend can and must be reversed.

Mountain Democrat


Discussion | 7 comments

  • Dink LaneDecember 28, 2012 - 12:02 pm

    All schools are NOT-Equal.....The schools for "African-American youth in urban areas" get LESS $$$ --> so their classrooms are LARGER. I know of a High school teacher (Grant High school) who had to work DAILY with 232 children (over 6 periods) AND held after school classes for 30+ struggling students.(No extra pay) After she collapsed from exhaustion, she substituted here in El Dorado Hills were class size NEVER went over 20 students (5 periods)(more pay)..... EDH's schools had after-school classes to help many of the students to prepare for SAT exams...... No SAT Exam classes for the African-American youth in urban areas....... I agree Dear Editor, not everyone should go to college. My son, who scored at the top of his class all through school became a Sheet Metal "Journeyman".... Yes, a Journeyman (Special "Union paid" for State School)...... To have a GREAT country, the citizenship MUST be educated. Just read the "Fall of the Roman Empire." Plutocrats blocking prosperity for the Citizenship was the biggest factor in their fall.... Denying poor communities of the SAME-EQUAL education has done nothing for society except let spoiled rich people say "Mine, Mine, NO, get your hands off MINE!" (P.S. EDH property tax $$$ are higher than Grant HS property tax $$$) Yes, the rich will stay rich and the poor...too bad for them..

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  • Ken SteersDecember 29, 2012 - 8:38 am

    Actually, schools who's students test poorly or have children with diagnosed learning disorders receive much more financial support than schools who's students test the highest in our state. For instance San Juan school district receives twice the dollar per high school student than the schools in our county. Dink, the majority of Californians think like you do and voted for tax increases to "pay for schools". The question posted by the MD is, are the tax payers getting the results we have paid for? I think it's a fair question.

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  • Dink LaneDecember 29, 2012 - 11:32 am

    I checked with my sister (the teacher) and she said those extra funds are "Grants" generally provided by foundations or the Federal Government to help special needs. Her school, Grant HS, didn't have the special Grants that San Juan had (She didn't know why.)..... Yes, Ken I did vote for Prop 30. Education is what make the USA great in the 50s thru the 90s. Are we getting what we pay for? NO. Because we put kids on an assembly line, math here, science there, reading over here. Look at your own kids. Not one is completely like the other. Each learn differently, play differently, etc. As long as we treat kids like robots...we get robot thoughts, robot answers... No Ken, we aren't getting what we pay for because poor neighborhoods have 42 children with one teacher and broken desks. Bet you would have a hard time trying to get 42 people to listen to you when they would rather be outside--especially when no one thinks they are important enough to have a desk that isn't broken or have to sit on the counter because it overcrowded.

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  • cookie65December 30, 2012 - 5:56 am

    Take a good look. This is what progressive liberal utopia looks like. If more money were the answer California would have the best schools on the planet.

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  • EvelynDecember 30, 2012 - 6:31 am

    Money definitely is NOT the issue. My father was educated in a one-room school house minus most all of the amenities now taken for granted. He was better educated than me and his general knowledge base far greater. I have seen exams my forefathers took. I could not pass them today without a great deal of work. Further, aside from the use of electronic gadgets, the generation following mine seems in many ways functionally illiterate. Several years ago a high school history teacher informed a friend of mine -- without a blush -- that her students don’t like to read. She taught her students exclusively by slideshow. Which is not to say that there are not students who excel. There are. But if they are independent thinkers minus EXCELLENT social skills, they risk being marginalized. In case anyone out there in Mt Dem reader land is interested, HERE is Charlotte Iserbyt’s 738 page “The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America”.

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  • EvelynDecember 30, 2012 - 6:56 am

    "Mrs. Iserbyt has . . . documented the gradual transformation of our once academically successful education system into one devoted to training children to become compliant human resources to be used by government and industry for their own purposes. . . . The government will plan your life for you, and unless you comply with government restrictions and regulations your ability to pursue a career of your own choice will be severely limited. What is so mind boggling is that all of this is being financed by the American people themselves through their own taxes. . . . One of the interesting insights revealed by these documents is how the social engineers use a deliberately created education “crisis” to move their agenda forward by offering radical reforms that are sold to the public as fixing the crisis—which they never do. The new reforms simply set the stage for the next crisis, which provides the pretext for the next move forward. . . . [O]ur children continue to be at risk in America’s schools. They are at risk academically because of such programs as whole language, mastery learning, direct instruction, Skinnerian operant conditioning, all of which have created huge learning problems that inevitably lead to what is commonly known as Attention Deficit Disorder and the drugging of four million children with the powerful drug Ritalin." (From the FORWARD to the above book)

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  • EvelynDecember 30, 2012 - 7:21 am

    Each year PROJECT CENSORED, Sonoma State University, compiles a list of the prior year's 25 Top Censored Stories. Their most recent compilation is HERE. The 13th most censored story: EDUCATION “REFORM” A TROJAN HORSE FOR PRIVATIZATION. "Public education is the target of a well-coordinated, well-funded campaign to privatize as many schools as possible, particularly in cities. This campaign claims it wants great teachers in every classroom, but its rhetoric demoralizes teachers, reduces the status of the education profession, and champions standardized tests that perpetuate social inequality. The driving logic for such reform is profits." (Supporting documentation included.)

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