Dealing with the Dropout Epidemic
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Dealing with the Dropout Epidemic


Latino Education Summit            August 6-7, 2014           Rice University - Grand Hall

 

The Dropout Epidemic in public schools of the Houston area and Texas is a symptom of a much greater problem. It is the end result of a public school system that is broken and in great need of reform.  Additionally, as negative an impact as this problem has on individual and collective success, it has not risen to the top as a high priority.  It seems that possible solutions are so complex that those in power prefer to examine other issues that perhaps could be resolved more easily by throwing money at it, creating some new pilot initiatives and letting it go at that.  If that doesn't work, we start over.  So much so that it has become a vicious cycle as we keep going round and round in circles. ALCREJ believes that if we want different results, we need to change what we do to make it happen. Everybody knows that! 

 

In the Houston area, it was back in the '80's that a Latino Education Summit was held to address the many issues causing Latino youth to dropout and not be successful in the public school system.  Another summit has not been held since.  It was well intended and the one good thing that came out of it was the creation of the Houston Hispanic Forum which still exists today and holds an annual event to motivate and inform youth of the importance of an education and being prepared for the workforce and a productive life.  I am very proud of our community leaders and educators who stepped up and attempted to change the landscape. Almost 30 years later, it appears that not much changed.

 

In reality, what have changed are the demographics of Houston and Harris County.  Latino enrollment in the Houston ISD, for example, has more than doubled from approximately 25% to 62% or some 130,000 Latino students today, out of some 210,000.  Other school districts in the area are experiencing the same demographic changes.  And for better or worse, this trend is continuing and at some point before long, the Latino population of Houston/Harris County will become majority Latino.  How good or how damaging this phenomenon will be to the area, will really depend on how accepting our diverse community will be and how well we educate this segment of the population. 

 

The Latino Education Summit in August will be the catalyst for positive educational change in the public school system and will serve as a springboard for similar summits to be held in different parts of the City over the next two years. It is our expectation that surrounding school districts will embrace the idea that we can all do a better job of educating all children.  The Summit will help us all be united in our understanding of the myriad of issues impacting public education today. We will understand where we have been, where we are today and where we
should be going. We are bringing together some of the best minds in the educational arena, the practitioners in the field, elected officials, and together we will begin the difficult work of making positive change happen. 

Join us.   

 


17 Comments to Dealing with the Dropout Epidemic:

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Cynthia E. Olmedo on Thursday, April 03, 2014 4:00 PM
I attended Milby High School from 1990 -1994, during the time period it reached capacity for student enrollment. We were the largest high school in Texas. I knew I was a smart kid but effort and hard-work were not necessary for me to be success in HS. I never sought to challenge myself. As long as I wasn’t causing trouble and my grades were high, the teachers were happy and so was I. I remember one incident as a sophomore in English when I was taking a test on “The Catcher in the Rye”. I knew all the answers because I had already read it in 8th grade. But there was one question that I could just not remember and I was going crazy because I wanted 100% on that test. So what did I do? I leaned over and snuck a peek at a classmate’s paper. With only my luck, I got caught. I knew the material but it didn’t matter, all I wanted was an “A”. Those grades and test scores were what labeled me as a good/bad student, not my positive attitude, my ideas and talents, my potential, etc. I was not taught nor did I understand the real value of an education, how to embrace challenges, and the effort required to work through barriers and realize my potential was limitless. This realization came years and years after college, only by teaching my own 8 years old daughter that good grades and knowing all the answers all the time doesn’t make you smart. It’s the endless cycle of accepting what you don’t know and learning it, that paves the way to a brilliant mind.
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Richard Farias on Monday, April 28, 2014 1:18 PM
Congratulations on your insights. Your daughter should know how lucky she is to have a mother that can guide her and give her the support she needs to be really successful in life. Unfortunately, too many of our kids don't have that. Too many of our parents need the support and guidance you are able to give to your child. At ALCREJ we are working hard to find ways to help parents become better parents so that the entire family is able to reach their own aspirations. Thank you for doing your part.


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