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OREGON DROPOUT TOO HIGH? KGW SAYS YES

oregon dropout

 

Oregon students drop out of high school more than any other state?

Education statistics work to show progress, decline, indifference. You’ve seen those graphs.

Chances are good these aren’t dropouts analyzing the data. They are smart people working the numbers.

Depending on the point being made, the numbers are the name of the game.

When those numbers show Oregon full of voluntary ignorance it’s the name of shame.

But who deserves that shame?

Oregon Dropout

When dropping out is an option, why not choose it instead of sitting around six hours a day in hard chairs when you could be more comfy?

Better chairs might make a difference.

Nicer desks, more engaging views out the windows, easier subjects. They all might work.

But then you’d hear from old timers and blow hard bloggers criticizing another generation of boobs.

It’s a chance for millennials to get on that bandwagon, to start their own memes about, “Back in my day we had it so much tougher.”

The current Oregon dropout joins a long line of underachievers, a gang membership no one wants a part of.

Bad education means poor choices. Where do poor choices lead?

Prison, which by most reports, documentaries, and prisoners, is bad. Education lack = poor choice = bad result.

Even though prison systems are gearing up for more non-violent incarcerations, you need to ask about the learning curve.

No one wants a diploma from OSP, or a Letterman jacket with hash marks, but intellectual pride still makes a difference when it finally kicks in.

That’s if you can keep clear of other Pride associations.

You’ve seen Shawshank Redemption? Andy Dufresne went in smart and still didn’t get away from bad guys.

Prison might suck worse than high school? That’s an educational moment you don’t want to research.

Oregon Dropout Teachers

True confession: I was a serial college dropout and an indifferent high school student.

No one called me a loser since I stayed in the dropout closet.

Then things changed, like getting married, kids, house, and a dog.

The married part came with more than one vow. Along with an “I do,” at the altar, it included a promise to finally get a college degree.

After a graduation march in Memorial Coliseum as a newly minted, thirty nine year old, Portland State University proud, history major, I finally got it.

  1. No one thought I’d finish.
  2. No one really cared.
  3. It made all the difference to me as I edged up on forty.

The difference between a 1973-74 freshman year and a 1991 senior thesis was the teachers. Or my advanced age. Probably both. I was older than some of the profs.

Ten years later, ten years of serving as the Museum Collection Manager as the Oregon History Center, I upgraded my credentials and interviewed at schools offering a Masters, either an M.A.T. or M.Ed.

This ten year span also included kids, kid sports, kid birthday parties, kids, kids, kids all over the place all the time. Don’t tell the harried new parents, but it’s fun.

Their presence created, and still creates, a better world through and through.

So I applied to be a teacher with a plan, a message, which I honed to extinction.

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“From my coaching and parenting experience I will create a magnet classroom, a place for kids to reflect on when they think about dropping out.

“As a non-traditional student I understand the appeal of dropping out.

“If they leave school, they leave my class. It’s not a lounge for lizards to warm up in the rest of their lives. And I’d want them to feel shame for dropping out. Call it a teacher’s finger on the educational scale.

“Along with sports, use the enTHUsiasm for learning.”

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After the serial rejections for the serial dropout, I sought counsel. So I talked to a football coach about my message. These guys know how to break it down and motivate kids.

“When you start the process you need to fit the mold. Once you get your classroom you can make it your own.

“I personally like your idea, it’s part of what we all try and do, but your message insulted every administrator who heard it. You called them out when you all sat around the table at the four on one interview.

“The cohort you begin with are all on the same page. They want the stamp of approval from UP, PSU, Lewis and Clark, OSU, UofO, Concordia, George Fox.

“So what if a retired kindergarten teacher is the face of recruiting making you think of nap time. What do you care if an old hippie who found higher education instead of a cult evaluates your worthiness.

“Understand the system before you try to change it. And that my friend, is what education is all about, what life is all about.

Educational failure isn’t about the teachers, it’s about failing to adapt.”

Then I put on my helmet and ran stadiums.

Oregon Dropout Moms and Dads

This is where it ends after the drama. Oregon dropout Moms and Dads.

No framed documents to point to when their own little bundle goes off the tracks.

No real context to support an education pep talk beyond, “Stay in school. Get me a beer.”

If your kids inherit your indifference to classroom learning, do you them slide, or adapt?

Here’s a vote for adapt.

All of the high schools in Oregon with a 100% graduation rate are tiny.

The biggest is Oakland with forty five grads.

Imbler High School in Union County comes in second with twenty seven.

I’ll make the leap: Find the best school fit for your kid.

Make him part of the choice, but make sure he understands how much you’re willing to sacrifice.

Improve your life by learning something that helps your kid.

No one’s saying move to Oakland, or Imbler High, but you could do lots worse than Oregon’s small town living.

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The Oregon dropout numbers come from this 2015 piece

From kgw.com:

At a park next to Madison High School in Northeast Portland, Marcus Hughes hangs out with friends in the middle of the day.

He’s a junior who used to attend Madison and routinely skip class.

“Skipping class just sounded a lot better than sitting through six hours of nothing. I really felt like I wasn’t doing much,” he said.

Soon he was so far behind he felt he’d never catch up.

“You’re not going to come back,” said Hughes, shaking his head.

But unlike many people he knows, Marcus did not throw in the towel completely. He’s attending an alternative school and working toward his G.E.D.

“I wanted to get that piece of paper that said I have an education. And something that can take me to a college where I can get a good job. A good trade,” he said.

One Oregon dropout pulling another Oregon dropout away from a bad choice?

Use your positive peer pressure.

Pass along that legacy and you’ll feel all right.

About David Gillaspie
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