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Dropouts In Baghdad

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"When Senator John Kerry said last fall that students who didn’t do well in school were more likely to “get stuck in Iraq,” he was immediately attacked for insulting the intelligence of U.S. troops," according to this Harper's Magazine article (Kerry Was Right). "Of course, Kerry’s comment was entirely accurate—not because American soldiers in Iraq are dumb, but because the Pentagon, in seeking to overcome serious recruiting shortfalls, has enlisted growing numbers of high school dropouts."

Felons, too, according to CNN's Paris Hilton Anderson Cooper -- but of course that's someone else's problem.

1 Comment

This is really sad and unfair. Choosing to join the military is often a noble thing to do, and should be respected, but when you are a high school drop-out, joining the military is often less a choice, and more an act of desperation.

Drop out prevention is the key to preventing this from happening to more young Americans. If students are aware of their potential, they can then choose to join the army out of interest, not necessity.

• Poor academic performance is the single strongest school-related predictor of dropping out (OERI Urban Superintendents Network 1987; Hess, et al. 1987; Wood 1994).

Many students drop out of school due to low self-esteem. In the classroom, many at-risk students are placed in “special” groups because they are reading below level. Being placed in these groups humiliates them every day, and quitting school makes that humiliation go away. These students may be drawn to the military for the simple reason that they will be accepted as normal.

• Students' self-concepts suffer as a result of being labeled below average. Placement in lower ability groups is associated with lower expectations and reduced learning. This leads to low self-esteem and a false belief that “school is just not for me.”

Motivating students to learn with high-interest material is the best way to get them to stay in school (www.scobre.com). This gives them options, and while the military may still ultimately be their choice, they won't think it as their only choice.

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