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The earlier that presently socially promoted students are given the help they need, the greater the possibility that they will succeed and not ultimately drop out of school before graduation or disrupt the educational process for others.
The cumulative effect of students who have accrued deficits in the vital prerequisites necessary for success in secondary education and beyond is the major cause of teachers and students dropping out of public education - teachers because of an untenable working environment and students because of the humiliation of the educational process when they have not been held to account and aided in earlier grades.
Given the relative ease with which this failure of public education could be fixed and avoided with a minimal inexpensive investment, one is left with the regrettable conclusion that minority dominated innercity schools, fail to education Latinos for fear of losing a cheap unskilled labor force and one doesn't educate African American to avoid the success that would cause this country to look at 400 years of systematic degradation of African American culture.
No. The students are the ones who suffer, albeit I've heard many public school teachers complain about their own suffering. I've seen schools work harder trying to put a patch on "the problem" or develop "alternative plans" that are little more than in-school detention services than they would have to work to create innovative plans that would see to it that at risk students/families were successful.
I have argued for many years that public education should have choice for students: basic, vocational, and college prep. If students, and their parents, are truly offered choice without the shame and stigma of choosing a "vocation" instead of a "profession," many more students would be happier in school and see a reason to stay in and complete their plans.
A basic education would provide students with necessary life skills, ie reading newspapers, job documents, personal hygene, interpersonal skills, childcare, bill paying, housekeeping, grocery and meal planning/preparing, etc, and at some point in the future, support a choice to pursue higher education.
Vocational education would provide opportunities for students to prepare for work straight out of high school, ie apprenticeships, chef, automobile mechanic/repair, cosmetology, technology, CNA, etc. Vocational education would also prepare students who might choose to enter higher education in their field.
College prep would offer advanced math/science classes, higher level reading/writing skills, internships, college life and survival skills.