Friday, August 14, 2015

US Needs Alternative High School For Drop-Outs

Black and Hispanic births are already the majority of births in this country. The US is on a path to have a white minority by 2040. But more than half of minority kids can't or don't graduate our current "academic" focused high schools. Where this is the case, maybe we need an alternative of teaching them practical job skills and life skills in addition to basic reading, writing and arithmetic.

Currently, kids that drop-out of school have very few options in the Obama economy. Some 37% of black kids who drop-out are in prison for instance. Military service becomes an option, but most of these kids couldn't pass a drug test.

We need to create a "vocational" high school path for those young people who can not graduate an "academic" high school. It should all be voluntary. Ideally the vocational option might even appeal to young people who are doing fine in our "regular" high schools, as currently defined but want a different path in life.

It's time to acknowledge that up to 50 to 60% of Blacks and Hispanics don't have the intellectual capability and discipline to graduate from "academic" US high schools, we need alternate paths for these young people who are destined to drop out.  And standardized tests predict this result well.

An alternative high school would still teach basic reading, writing and arithmetic but also vocational related skills. Such vocational skills might include bookkeeping, secretarial, plumbing, electrician, auto mechanics, auto body repair, carpentry, wood working, house painting, culinary skills, secretarial skills, basic entrepreneurship, proficiency in Microsoft programs such as Word, Excel, tax preparation and travel agency for example. But it could also include arts such as visual arts, silkscreen printing, painting, dance, singing, or playing musical instruments, Vocational training could include apprenticeships with local businesses.

Maybe the vocational alternative becomes an option after 1 or 2 years of "academic" high school when it becomes fairly clear that students are not going to graduate despite good attendance. If kids are truant or show no interest, even after trying the "vocational" alternative, then they should be sent home or to a 3rd option: bootcamp.

Many minority kids have discipline problems due to little or no parenting and could benefit from a "bootcamp" experience that is a 3rd alternative to conventional or vocational high schools. It might resemble military bootcamp.  After all, the military is expert at transforming young people in bootcamp -- giving them discipline and training which changes their lives. Many of these minorities have little discipline, no experience of accomplishing anything, no pride or self-esteem. Bootcamp works.  This could be the most important idea of all.

No comments: