10/11 - Dropout Dilemma: Louisiana’s Education Crisis

Why do so many Louisiana students give up on their education?

Nearly 15,000 Louisiana students drop out of school each year. And despite recent improvements, Louisiana still ranks third from the bottom, nationally, for its high school graduation rate. So, why do so many Louisiana students give up on their education? And what can the state and local communities do to successfully combat the problem? “Louisiana Public Square” travels to Shreveport in October to partner with Red River Radio and explore “Dropout Dilemma: Louisiana’s Education Crisis” on Wednesday, October 26th at 7 p.m. on LPB HD.

Update 07/17/2012: From FRONTLINE's "Middle School Moment": --Bob Balfanz from Johns Hopkins University found that "The data showed that if a 6th grade child in a high poverty attends school less than 80 percent of the time, or fails math or English or receives an unsatisfactory behavior grade in a core course that absent effective intervention there is a 75 percent chance that they will drop out of high school.

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Funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting through the National Center for Media Engagement.


“A Future at Risk” – Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana Report on Louisiana’s dropout problem and solutions. (PDF format)

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Our Panelists:

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“Youths in Jeopardy: the Dropout Crisis” – Red River Radio’s anti-dropout initiative for North Louisiana

Learn more at our companion website: lpb.org/dropout!

“Promise Fulfilled” - An analysis of Louisiana high schools with high graduation rates by Education’s Next Horizon

Education’s Next Horizon
Education’s Next Horizon High School Graduation Best Practices

This program was also funded in part by the Louisiana Forestry Association

We want to know your opinion! Leave your comments in the box below.

Could it be that we are placing too much emphasis on “achieving” a certain number/score on the multitude of tests we demand these children take? We’ve stripped the fun and beauty of learning out of the education system and made it mandatory that students do well without much incentive. What do you get if you study hard and do everything your teacher tells you? You may get a good grade and you may pass the benchmark, but do kids really develop a passion for learning? Tell a teenager they have to do something because some arbitrary member of the Department of Education says so, and see what kind of opposition you get. Rote memorization and regurgitation of learning is not fun for anyone and these kids are bored to death of it. They are uninterested and see a part-time job as an immediate way to get what they want: money to buy the things that they want. Stay in school and be bored, unmotivated, and generally uninterested in what your teacher is talking about, or drop out and get a job with immediate gratification of money. This is often the choice that these students are faced with, and what do you think a 16- or 17-year-old is going to choose?

Posted by Regan Horn  on  10/20  at  11:52 AM

Research results indicate that a student’s potential for success can be traced back to how successful the parent is—namely the mother.  I believe the dropout rate can be drastically cut if more parents are involved in their children’s education.  There is a tremendous need for parent education because parents are the children’s first teacher.

Posted by S. Lee  on  10/26  at  08:35 PM

I think there is one fact that everyone can agree on about education. That there is a direct corelation between student/teacher ratio. There was a lot of talk tonight about mentors and human interaction with students. If we would put three or four unemployed adults @ minimum wage in each K thru 3rd grade classroom and then 2 each thru 8th grade. Results would be great and immediate, at low cost. This works in large schools, rural schools, all schools.

Posted by Robert Wagner  on  10/27  at  10:37 AM

All government entities across the nation, including Louisiana, want to blame the declining education and the dropout rate on our education system: first, the teachers and then the schools. That’s not where the problem lies. The Dropout Dilemma has nowhere else to blame than society; and this has been encouraged by our governments. When an individual can make more money on entitlements (the receiving of monies from programs to which the individual makes no contributions) than can be made working a job at minimum wage, common sense will dictate that entitlements is the way to go. Individuals drawing their Welfare ($ x amount per person in the household) for their free housing and free utilities, receiving food stamps (again, $ x amount per person in the household) for their free food (both of these on the Louisiana Purchase card) in addition to supplemental cash that they are able to draw monthly off their Louisiana Purchase card, have no incentive to get a job. Add in the amount that is paid out by Social Security on their SSI program for individuals that seem to have problems learning. My wife is a second grade teacher and those younger kids will tell everything. She hears about the parents telling their children to act dumb and act crazy just so they can get a check: >$500 monthly per person. The more kids, the more free money that can be received. One parent even told my wife, after her child qualifying for SSI, “Great, now I can get that Great Dane I’ve been wanting.” They don’t seem to realize that these SSI monies are intended to get tutoring and other educational help for their children. At one time we had a family living in the rental house next to us that had 6 individuals drawing their SSI checks plus all of their other entitlement income. That’s not a bad income for doing nothing. Many of these people cannot hold, or even get a job because of drug abuse. They can’t pass a drug test to get a job. Some even draw an SSI check just because they are former drug users. The policy should be: “No passing drug test; no entitlement monies”. Generations have been taught that this is the way to go. There is no need to get an education, work hard all of your life and die a pauper when the Government will pay their way and not require them to work. Because of this, there in no need to get an education. The people that have figured out how to work “The System” are making more money than many people at the lower portions of the upper income bracket. I consider my family to be middle income and I can’t afford many of the luxuries that these people have; all being paid for with our tax dollars. Stop giving our tax dollars away on all of these “Free” programs and the people will see that they need an education to survive in this world; however it will take more generations to reverse what has been learned.

Posted by Tommy Reeves  on  10/27  at  10:38 AM

We’re facing the same problem in Georgia.  At some point, we are going to have to move to some radical thinking.  I don’t know what that will entail, but it seems that we are still thinking in the same terms as always and coming up empty.  Maybe small class groups that are less structured, more open, perhaps even meeting off-campus much of the time.

Posted by Bill  on  10/28  at  07:36 PM

After looking at the statistics for the Drop Out rate in Louisiana I was not sure if you were aware that Special Education students who complete their IEP, Pre GED or Skills Option certificate are considered drop outs when they complete their program. I had spoken with Jeffery Hand at the State of Louisiana Department of Education last year about this and he confirmed that any student who does not receive a regular education diploma is considered a drop out. My son, who was a special education student, was considered a drop out after completing his IEP. Steven cannot read or write due to brain tumor he was born with. Anyhow, I will not go into anymore details but I think our dropout rate for our school is not completely accurate. We had Steven who completed his IEP he was considered a drop out and three other students who were enrolled in a PreGED program at our school and they finished last year and they were considered drop outs. We only graduated 35 students so that is a pretty large percentage for our small school. I hope this information will spark you into looking at the dropout rate in a different light

Posted by Jean P Parker  on  11/08  at  10:26 AM

Education is underrated in nowadays society. That’s really bad.

Posted by Mike Wike  on  12/07  at  05:08 AM
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