Monday, June 09, 2008

Dropouts give reasons

Here's the link to the press release.
Other key findings include:

* Eleven percent of high school juniors or seniors plan to end their education with high school, will not graduate on time or will dropout. The number nearly doubles (21 percent) for those lacking job or career goals.
* While 4 percent of those polled haven’t completed high school, 10 percent of those who lacked guidance in high school haven’t graduated.
* While 25 percent of all respondents said they didn’t receive job or career direction in high school, 55 percent of dropouts said they lacked such help.
* Nearly 30 percent of all respondents said they didn’t have a role model in high school, but more dropouts and more individuals without job and career goals said they didn’t have role models (73 percent and 54 percent, respectively).
* Twenty-four percent of those with goals said they were unemployed compared to 45 percent of those who said they have no job or career goals.
* Survey participants identified parents, teachers or counselors and siblings as the most influential people in their lives.
* Two percent of those polled said they had actually dropped out of school; 6 percent said they had considered dropping out.


Polled students tell what they need to succeed

May 30, 2008

Fewer students would drop out of high school if they took classes they found relevant, had help developing career goals and had strong relationships with adults they see as role models, according to a poll of 500 young adults in Michigan.

The poll, conducted May 12-21, was commissioned by the Michigan Education Association. Respondents ranged in age from 16 to 20. Results were released Thursday.

Educators have been trying to address these issues for years as they refocus schools on a new version of the three R's -- rigor, relevance and relationships. The state's largest teachers union said the poll provides numbers to back up that emphasis.

"There's a large number of young adults we can actually turn things around for without a great deal of effort," said Ed Sarpolus, MEA director of government affairs.

Among the findings:

• 25% said they didn't receive job or career direction.

• 55% of dropouts said they had no direction.

• Nearly 30% of respondents said they didn't have a role model. Among dropouts, that number was 73%.

The poll had a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

"The relationship between the students and the teachers is primary, and the schools often overlook that element of importance for the students," said Elsie Ritzenhein, principal of the Macomb Academy in Armada Area Schools.

Sarpolus and Ted Spencer of Detroit said the solution lies inside schools and communities. "We really need the village," said Spencer, who is raising three grandchildren in high school.

Lyndsey Eschenburg, 20, of Clinton Township said schools can help students build career goals by exposing them to volunteer opportunities or other work experiences.

"I think it's necessary to have goals and have expectations for yourself," she said.

Schools are working to expose students to careers, in accordance with the state mandates that beginning in middle school, every student must complete an education-development plan to help identify career goals. In Plymouth-Canton Community Schools, the three high schools that share a campus each have a career center.

"We'll go over and beyond what students need to make sure they leave ... with some sort of direction," said Vickie Bonner, career center coordinator at Salem High School.

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