Yes, we have been bombarded with yet another report on the number of kids who drop out of high school each year. I read over Duncan’s comments, but I was not shocked. Nor surprised. I didn’t cuss, fuss, shake my head, or throw anything. It’s not that I don’t care because I do. My frustration apathy towards this regurgitated data is based on one simple fact: We already knew this. And by we, I mean teachers, parents, and other people with a genuine concern about education and kids. The problem: No one listens to us. Especially important: No one listens or pays any attention to the kids. Despite what the ‘experts’ purport, kids should have a voice in their education. After all, they are considered stakeholders (education buzzword), right? If we expect them to go to school everyday, work hard, earn decent grades, and pass the oh-so-important graduation tests, shouldn’t we at least listen to what they have to say? Or is it just me?
One thing I hated to hear when teaching: ‘Ms. Seward, this stuff is boring.’ Not because it hurt my feelings, but because I knew that boredom led to other things, such as classroom disruptions, absenteeism, teen pregnancy, delinquency, and yes, dropping out of school. When kids tell us (both parents and teachers) that school is boring, they mean it. We need to listen and take that as an opportunity to figure out what they need. That’s right, I said it. The adults need to listen to and learn from the kids. If we don’t, we will get the same report about dropouts every year. With no new solutions.
I guess I’m just tired. I’ve met my education b.s. quota for the year. And it’s only June 2nd. Like I said before, we know the problems, but we need to start focusing on solutions. There are many valuable and untapped resources available, waiting for the opportunity invitation to roll-up their sleeves and get to work.