Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Michigan to Raise Drop Out Age?

Let's call him Don.

Don is a great guy who works full time as an auto mechanic but also spends time on the ambulance crew as an EMT. He served his country proudly in the armed forces. He makes good money and pays all of his taxes. He has raised a family that supports the local economy at the grocery store, restaurants and gas station. He is a delightful chap to talk to.

Who wouldda thunk it?

Because Don's last three years of high school (those years ended prematurely when he dropped out) were spent being disruptive in the classroom and disrespectful of every teacher and administrator. He fought. He swore. He threatened. And, he did all of these things at high volume and with commendable passion. Hours and hours of classroom time were devoted to getting Don to close his yap and mind his manners--with that devotion, on the very best of days, meeting with mixed results. Most of the rest of us just stared at the circus.

Unfortunately, if Don were in school today he might become the poster child for a Michigan proposal that would raise the dropout age to 18 years (from 16) at the same time that new curriculum requirements are adding more courses in math and science.


Because every student in Jennifer Granholm's one size fits all educational system is exactly the same poster child.

LANSING -- Gov. Jennifer Granholm is defending the state's tougher requirements for high school students.

She told a group of educators on Tuesday that now is not the time to back down from higher standards that include more required math, science and other courses to get a high school diploma.

The new requirements start with this year's ninth-graders.

Granholm wants to add to the state's educational standards by making kindergarten full-time and mandatory and raising the legal dropout age from 16 to 18.
The expanded student body will, of course, be paid for by the taxpayers of Michigan and will be suffered by serious Michigan students who will be caged in the same classroom with disruptive Dons that want nothing more than to be released from their prison.

Governor Granhom means well, but what she fails to understand is that Don, and the thousands of other Dons out there, wouldn't absorb mathematics if you took the book and crammed it in his ear hole--not because he cannot, but because he refuses to.

It sounds good, sure, to say that kids need to stay in school. But it will be an exercise in monumental futility if we attempt to force a free-spirited child of 17 into the classroom and expect the resentful hooligan to learn--especially if we stack a few mandatory pre-college classes on him making the diploma even more elusive. This experiment conducted in a far from sound proof laboratory where there might be a student or two that would actually appreciate a quiet opportunity to learn.

But the Governor wants us to continue slogging onward into an age where educational mandates are decided upon as far away from community, parents and students as is humanly possible.

Gear up, Dons! The cage doors are closing. The rest of you students will just have to learn to adapt.

1 comment:

RightMichigan.com said...

C'mon... raising the dropout age sounds nice and enlightened and caring.

What more do you need?