In his recent column, John Eggers writes of the low rate of high school graduation among minorities in Minnesota.
While these graduation rates are unacceptable, it seems like once again much of the blame is on the system and everyone else but the students and their families. John talks about changing the mindset. Part of that is cultural. If previous generations don’t value getting an education, then I’m not sure how much more programs can change that.
It’s been well over 50 years since The Great Society and its programs to address various social injustices began. Despite the money spent on programs since, some things have not improved. One has to avail themselves to these programs or opportunities, such as getting an education.
I’m also not sure how that more flexibility will solve any of the problems. I think that it can be said that there is more flexibility in education than in previous generations. As far as thinking outside the box and learning academies outside of school, the Bemidji Career Academies are examples of this. They offer alternatives to traditional education in multiple fields, but there is only so much leeway or flexibility that is practical. Although the skills required in the job market have evolved over the years, certain skills such as English, math and science are still necessary in order to gain employment.
In addition to gaining knowledge and work skills, personal conduct skills are critical. How will a person learn that unexcused absenteeism is not acceptable in the workplace if it is not learned in school?
Perhaps one-on-one mentoring can help, but programs alone are not the solution. Somehow personal responsibility has to be part of the equation.