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Why Do Kids Drop Out?

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According to a recent study, most dropouts say they stopped going to school because they were bored and unmotivated—not because they were failing academically.

The report's authors argue that the responses suggest a need for changes in education to decrease the dropout rate, namely, more engaging class material and an "early-warning system" to identify and assist likely dropouts by monitoring attendance records. But others point out that these responses may mask other problems, such as students' lack of reading comprehension or personal pride leading them to downplay academic failure.

What's your view? Why do kids dropout of school? What can school and teachers to do help at-risk students before they quit.

90 Comments

The survey could make available more of the students response. However, student no more respone to memorizing as required by some teachers who see them as receptacles to be filled by a depositor. Among other processes, Student must be involved in aspects of the curicullum scope to be motivated and thus to monitor their own learning.

Why more students are dropping out from schools? well, there are several factors,one of them is academicaly and the subject most students hate is Math, I think students needs more new materials to do the math, math is a sweet and easy subject but unfortunately it has not been thaught properly
because it has been thaught with old systematic of
one page homework from the page of student math book. teachers should educate themselves with new materials and tools to use them in classrooms and bring new materials, new tools the create fun math should be fun so the students enjoy to learn it, I know lots of teachers, using a new tool the name is "CIRCUS of PATTERNS" students love to use it over and over again, it bring excitement in math class. Such a tool should be use by those teachers who do not know about this tool. It definitly will reduce number of drop out.

Students are dropping out as soon as tight controls and labeling are implemented in their learning. Schools need to support and direct what students are passionate about; thus, motivation for learning is always there. Does the system need to change? Yes, more than it has with lots of choice, a dropping of labels, a time for reflection given along side a time for absorption, a balance of indoor as well as out-of-door education, equal opportunity, authentic and hands-on, real-world activities with built in self-evaluation and performance assessment. Can we get there? You bet!

They (high schoolers) always say that school is boring. I see more underlying causes. Most of them dropped out because they lost hope of graduating. They are ususally 16 and still classified as freshman. They played too much during the earlier years and could not catch up or have developed the skills of learning. Classroom teachers are not the only guity party. The solution should be on emphasizing expectation earlier on some time during the 8-9th grades. School administrators should do their jobs earlier on and lay out the road maps for success in school. High school should not be the end but the means to go to college.

They (high schoolers) always say that school is boring. I see more underlying causes. Most of them dropped out because they lost hope of graduating. They are ususally 16 and still classified as freshman. They played too much during the earlier years and could not catch up or have developed the skills of learning. Classroom teachers are not the only guity party. The solution should be on emphasizing expectation earlier on some time during the 8-9th grades. School administrators should do their jobs earlier on and lay out the road maps for success in school. High school should not be the end but the means to go to college.

The only two students I have had that dropped out of school completely (as opposed to dropping a program such as IB) struggled with reading. For instance one student was brilliant with electricity so I let him lead the class with lots of show and tell for a variety of electricity related tools and systems - he did well and I was proud. However when he hit 16 a few months later he dropped out - to become an electrician's assistant. He did poorly on reading and testing assignments because of these skills. Another student was a sensitive people person but unfortunately couldn't read or write well and dropped out almost by default. These cases were a couple of years ago and I know there are lots of dedicated teachers and curriculum designers trying to remedy lack of basic skills. I believe personally that we spend so much time on trying to say all of life should be exciting and fun (which is a beautiful idea!) but sometimes it comes down to working hard to overcome challenges - being comfortable with challenges and comfortable with recognizing one's own gifts might be different but that doesn't mean quitting! We should be supporting all students to face challenges not just the ones who can not read, write, do math, etc.

Student drop out because they have lost their hope of learning. Teaching students to motivate themselves and use their creativeness will keep their interest in school. When the school or teacher has more information than the student can get on his/her own, then the student will stay. I have several teachers during the past three years and I am saddened by their methods of teaching. I am surprised that so many students stay. ch

Correction in above note: "I have observed several teachers dureing the past three years and I am saddened by their methods of teaching, especially their lack of class management skills that do not involve kindness. I am surprised that so many students stay. ch

I have observed several teachers dureing the past three years and I am saddened by their methods of teaching, especially their lack of class management skills that do not involve kindness. I am surprised that so many students stay. ch

I have observed several teachers dureing the past three years and I am saddened by their methods of teaching, especially their lack of class management skills that do not involve kindness. I am surprised that so many students stay. ch

I have worked with Gay & Lesbian students in the past who were very bright but who dropped out because school had become such a stressful place for them. I believe that many students drop out because they just don't fit in or feel threatened and bullied by other students.

Why did this funny computer that I am using spell during incorrectly?

We cannot dismiss the ostracised student as being "At Risk" of dropping out. There is that student population that makes it a point to be different and when they are treated different they wonder why. The extreme is the event at Columbine but more often the student drops out.
Mr. Lua, keep in mind that twenty five percent of the jobs require a four year degree and seventy five percent of the jobs require skills. We are fortunate in this country to have career/tech programs in high school that prepare our students with those skills and motivate some of those students that would otherwise dropout due to their limited academic success.

The issue that Natalie Johnson, Mental Health Educator, mentioned regarding students who left school because of social stress, leads me to believe that there is an immediate need for making the school classrooms more professional. Perhaps too much attention is given to behavior instead of factual,usable, exciting knowledge. After students quit the public schools, then they usually pay considerable dollars to attend a school that "teaches them something" so why aren't our schools teaching them that 'something?' Perhaps we should conduct on-going surveys with all students and ask them "Why they want to come to school in the first place and what is it that they expect to learn and why." Social issues keep changing; so, perhaps students can be taught how to conduct their own research on their own social concerns. ch

Students at risk of dropping out do not see relevance to education. If there was a reason to learn what is required and a sense of a need to better themselves as life long learners a good number of students - even those academically challenged - could approach the difficulty of school as something that will enhance thier future and therefore be worth thier time and effort. The second part of this is what educators do to pay attention to linking the need to know to how and what they teach.

It would be interesting to see how many of the students dropping out could be considered gifted, it seems so many of the students in alternative education programs are precocious students that could not fit in. It also seems that many students dropping out were high achievers in the early school years and then dropped out of involvement in the classroom before physically dropping out.
Any student dropping out is a liability, and to see so many of these students, who are very competent individuals, being lost is an ignominy.
Paradoxically, so many of the students interviewed, when asked, “What did people say when you dropped out?” replied, “Nobody asked.”

My personal opinion is that the reason that people drop out is because they cannot focus. They cannot keep up with their live's there is too much pressure then those people who have very overpowering parents that dont think that anything is good enough they seem to forget about what they always wanted to do. Thats why people drop out many of todays minority is very much discriminated against in schools many white teachers and or principles are very racist. Looks can decieve the goverment is making it really hard for the students to get promoted into the next grade. Statistics show that more blacks and hispanics amoung others are dropping out that gives us a bad name. I dont think thjat we should even be generalized as blacks or hispanics we are all the same we should not be judged we should be helped if we are so ignerant as the goverment sais.

the goverment is racist and denies it.

Motivation i.e., the internal and external desire to learn, think and become an independent part of society, and a caring or lack there of, support system contributes to student drop out rate. Behaviors that contribute to a disassociation from school don't start in high school or middle-school. Soft signs that contribute to a 'hate for school' are fostered early in elementary experience. Many times it's a lack of confidence in the curriculum (kids can't read), family issues or a connection to the material covered in school. At times it's the teachers who just don't connect to the 'different' style learner or just don't show the student that they truly care about them.
I was a summer school principal for numerous years dealing with students who 'hated school'. As the administrator I showed all my students that I expected them to do their best and show me the passion for learning. They knew that I was there, I cared, and I would do whatever it takes to engage them in learning. ALL of my students were successful and the testimony that I heard from them after the program was heart warming. I expected them to do well, and they knew I would be right there to support them. I was in there face! Maybe it doesn't happen this way all the time, but certainly I think it would happen more often then not.
I hope we can help our students succeed and stay in school but we have to start in the formative grades.

Did anybody else want more infromation? Did the study actually access the records of the respondents to see if they were being truthful about their experiences? In my experience: all inmates in prison are innocent, all employees who were fired were set up, and all students who fail or drop out think school is borinig. It simply reflects American society's unwillingness to accept responsibility for personal effort or personal failure. Simple way to check this story/poll's accuracy: follow up with the respondents - how many took the initiative to get a GED, attend community college, or take advanced training programs after dropping out? If the work was boring (90%) or too easy (81%), the numbers should be equally as high in enrollment follow on training or education prgrams, with correspondingly high success rates.

Around 70% of school kids have reading understanding difficulties, which means first language development has been left aside for "giving room" and attention to some other subjects. Besides,teachers are usually not well prepared and trainned to teach reading. When our language sound system is poorly "installed" and the association between sound and letters is wrong reading understanding problems will show up and our cognition capacity will suffer indeed. Under these conditions kids self-steem will come down and the "boring school" mask and dropout decision is next.

check out the following: http://www.usatoday.com/printedition/news/20060308/oplede08.art.htm

Back when I worked in the research office of an urban school system and reported its dropout statistics as part of my work, I reviewed a lot of research. For varied (and sometimes complex) reasons, students become disengaged from school. Then they are "bored." However, having been retained in grade at least once is probably the single best predictor of dropout. I also remember reading reports of longitudinal research that made it clear that you can predict pretty well by 3rd grade which students will ultimately drop out.

But I "got it" at a visceral level in a master's program in Information Systems that I took after leaving college teaching. One requirement was a course in Networks and Telecommunications. I was not interested in the material and knew I would never be using it. One instructor droned endlessly in a monotone, and the other was condescending. Every week I had to fight with myself not to walk out on the class and (thus) dump the master's program. And this is from someone with a long record of doing well in school and reaping the rewards of that success! Suddenly I understood better what was going on with our high school dropouts, who may never have had real school successes, who may always have felt alienated from school culture, and who see no relevance and no upcoming rewards from staying in high school! The wonder is that so many of them stay...

Why students dropout is a question that needs a lot of research because there are so many obstacles that center around this question.

Many of the reasons students dropout is becuase the importance of education is not embraced and emphasized in the home. There are more students dropping out today than in the late sixties and early seventies. It not becuase the schools are not doing what they can, it because students have too many other interests taking their attention away from education. By the time students reach high school, it is a matter of personal choice and committment. It's just so much a teacher can do. The rest is up to the students. Education is a privilege and American students need to understand that they are blessed because everything is given to them. Perhaps the giving is part of the problem.
I love teaching and I make it interesting. I rarely have students to say that they are bored. I keep it real.

In adopting one-size-fits-all standards that favor higher order thinking skills portioned out at appointed grade levels, we alienate subsets of our school population. Our highest achieving students must wait until the curriculum dictates the appropriate time for high level math, literature, science, etc. They spend their school days completing work they were capable of completing at a much younger age. At the other extreme are the students who have significant difficulty learning across educational domains. They are not cognitively low enough to receive services for a mental delay or high enough to receive services for a learning disability. With persistence, they would learn the academic skills needed for the “real world,” but will likely never solve quadratic equations, analyze an author’s use of literary terms, or evaluate various economic systems. Standards are great, but not at the expense of losing the flexibility to create educational programs that are relevant to a diverse population

For so many of our students the world is a very unstable place. Childhood seems to be a thing of the past. Trying to teach students who have been exposed to the fast way of making money, making adult decisions because the adult isn't able to do so, caring for their younger siblings, ect. are many challenges that some students face. How do we expect them to come to school, stay still and attentive and listen to teachers talk often about things that have little or no relevance to their worlds.

I agree with CH Title 1 Dir.. I think it is so important to first understand & assess the where the student is, and then build on that.
As mentioned in an earlier comment, many of the teaching methods today are sad and outdated. Students learn differently today, and they need more than worksheets and boring lectures!

they drop out casue they cant do want they want to do

My oldest son dropped out of high school. Not because he couldn't read, not because he struggled to fit in, and not because he came from a disadvantaged family that did not have high expectations. He dropped out because he was bored and felt that no one cared. I knew he was in trouble and went to administrators, school guidance deans, and teachers. No one was very interested. He is highly creative, loves to learn through discussion, and is an avid reader. Once I got past my reactions of disappointment and embarrassment (since I work in the field of education), I realized I still had to support his decision and help him "find" his path. He worked for two years as a drywaller, than went and took the GED (without studying for it). He now attends Robert Morris College and is getting a degree in computer science and networking. My second son learned from the experience and has stayed in school. He is a senior this year and all A's with 2 B's. But he absolutely hates school, can't wait to get out, feels he is not respected, is being taught trivial, irrelevant material, and also feels no connection at all to any adult in the school. My daughter fits the round peg and thrives in high school (of course she's only a freshman). High schools have not changed in over 70 years except to become bigger and more impersonal. I walk in and it looks exactly as it did when I was there with a teacher lecturing in front of a row of desks. It's time for high schools to change. And I mean dramatic change, not just tinkering with the schedule, dress code, or more requirements. We need smaller learning communities or advisories where students are connected to caring adults, we need curriculum that is relevant to students and applies learning to the real world, and we need teachers who can are trained in differentiated and interdisciplinary instruction. But most important - we need to make high school less like a juvenile detention center and more like a supportive and interesting place to learn!

What on earth causes students to drop out?

Even, at times, to drop out from the school of life?

What on earth causes such awful, tragic strife?

What, I have long wondered, is going on?

Many years ago, to see if I could learn anything useful, I began spending a bunch of time in school; and also out of school, as a school drop out.

I have a fair chunk of a master's degree in education and have done some subbing in four school districts.

Might it be possible that I just may have learned something?

??? ??? ???

I dropped out of a masters degree program in education order to finish a Ph.D. in bioengineering. Why?

Perhaps the better to learn something useful?

???

Ever work at sorting out how learned helplessness really works?

Ever consider the possibility that, for some students, the stress of being held captive in a situation in which learned helplessness is forcibly inculcated in parallel with being relentlessly commanded to learn, just might become unbearable?

??? What on earth is that about? ???

Ever wonder what intense, persistent "learning environment skew" does to some students' sense of being valid, real persons?

Ever wonder if requiring what is prohibited, doing so with profound and sustained intensity, just might cause neurological damage?

Ever wonder if, for some students, dropping out is the only viable alternative to eventual suicide?

???

Ever wonder if some students are desperately trying to ask "society" something that may be terribly important, yet which "society" is adamantly, ignorantly resisting because of the present level of development of adamant ignorance within society?

Ever wonder if the problem just might be purely and entirely situational; and, therefore, subject to effective remediation when we learn to be fully present while listening to ourselves and to each other?

???

As I recall, Galileo remarked to the effect that Aristotelian physics, silly as it is now seen to be, prevailed for some two thousand years because people were looking in the wrong places for better understanding of directly observable objective reality. Ever wonder if we might be looking in the wrong places for a way to unriddle the school dropout phenomenon?

Ever wonder if the school dropout problem is merely a minor symptom of something of vastly greater significance?

Ever wonder if palliation of symptoms, and nothing but palliation of symptoms, ever solves anything?

Ever ponder whether the school dropout enigma just might be resolved by simply looking in the right places?

What might be the wrong places? What might be the right places?

???

What if we are looking for answers, and looking for answers is looking in the wrong places? What if we need to be looking for the questions instead?

???

What if, to unriddle the enigma, we need to listen with our full attention to the questions asked by people who are unable to well conform to and comply with societal norms, expectations, standards, and rules?

What if those people are asking us to look into the validity of said norms, expectations, standards, and rules?

What if, in focusing our efforts on the minutae of norms, expectations, standards, and rules, we are looking where there is nothing of value to be found, and whata if no achievable means of remediation are thereof to be made?

What if there is an underlying principle we are being asked to recognize? What impedes our doing that, if, indeed, that is what we need to do?"

??? ???

What if Erik H. Erikson found that principle, in the first stage of his epigenetic scheme, only he unwittingly got it sort of topsy-turvy?

What if it is not mistrust that leads to time confusion, but learned time confusion that generates mistrust?

What if time confusion is a form of learned helplessness that leads to serious mistrust of self, and everyone else, and everything else?

???

May I cite "The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency," by Robert Scaer (W. W. Norton, 2005), Chapter 3, "Trauma as Imprisonment of the Mind," page 58, "Trauma thus represents a time-based corruption of learning."?

What if this "time-based corruption of learning" is something of critical, urgent, and perhaps even paramount importance to the process of effective, efficient, and economical education?

What if it can be shown, beyond the possibility of doubt, that no mistake ever made either could or should have been avoided, and what if believing otherwise is the "veritas caput" of learned time confusion, and all the consequent societal conundrums that now seem to plague us?

???

What if there is a simple, though not necessarily easy, way to unlearn time confusion, and in, the process, also unlearn all of time confusion's consequential corollaries?

What if the principle is so simple that young children who have not gotten to "the terrible twos" understand it well, albeit naively?

What if they cannot tell us what they understand because they are so naive that they cannot explain it to "grown-ups"?

What if the only reason they cannot explain it to us is because we have learned to not listen?

What if that apparent learned incapacity to listen is itself a form of learned helplessness?

Ever hear of self-fullfilling prophecies of doom and gloom?

???

Ever read Antoine de Saint-Exupery, "The Little Prince"?

???

Do you recall Aesop's fable of "The Emperor's New Suit"?

What if that fable is a parable and what if the new suit is just a "new and improved" model of psychological defenses?

What if the innocent child in that fable has not yet developed the psychological defenses of "grown-ups," and so sees that the emperor is only in his underwear?

But what if Aesop left another observer out of the fable because Aesop was too educated to recognize that observer?

What if that observer was a babe-in-arms, who was just beginning to learn how words work, but had not yet even begun to learn how to talk in words?

What if that babe-in-arms sees accurately that everyone is actually bare naked (by which I mean only in terms psychological defenses; and not in terms of ordinary clothing, of course), and that all the clothes (psychological defenses) are purely make-believe?

Is there a better definition of "psychological defense than, "a psychological defense is a mental mechamism that reduces stress within the ego in social situations"?

What is the "ego" in the sense of that definition?

What if the "ego" is the cathected sense of self that is the internalization of distortions of reality that come about through the unrelenting inculcation of time confusion through the processes of formal and informal education?

What if that babe-in-arms is not strong enough to ask, "Why do you want to imprison my mind with deceit and deception and false make-believes?"

??? ???

Could such make believes, compounded over countless generations, be enough to lead some children to ask, "Why don't you see that, by the way you are trying to educate me, you are actually hurting me?"

If using words has been forbidden, alas, by mistake, could some children act out that question?

Could children who have been badly hurt (by being told, in countless ways, "You shouldn't feel that way," when trying to tell of how they feel hurt), plausibly end up acting out their hurts because, alas, simply talking about them was so massively punished that speaking in words became impossible; and speaking in actions is all that is finally left?

Could children be hurt, terribly hurt, unbearably hurt, by being told time and time again, forever-dastardly lies such as, "You should have done better," or, "You could have done better," or "You knew better," or "Why didn't you listen? If I told you once, I told you a thousand times!" or, "You did something wrong, and it is your fault, and you deserve to be punished for what you did!", or, while being punished in the conventional sense, being told,"This hurts me more than it does you."?

???

Do you believe that anything anyone ever did was other than the best that could possibly have been done at the moment it was done? Do you believe that anyone can ever do anything except what is the limit of what is best, also at the moment when it is done, when every situational factor regarding what is being done is taken into accurate account?

Do you believe that any decision, at the moment of the decision, is ever other than the best possible decision?

If so, what yet remains for you to unlearn of time confusion?

Is not telling someone, "You did something you should not have done," or, "You did not do something you should have done," anything other than demanding that someone know something before learning it has actually been possible?

Is that not time confusion?

I have asked, as part of my ongoing research into the nature of human social structures, well over a thousand people of diverse "walks of life" to describe, even as an abstract theory, how any mistake actually made could truthfuly have been avoided.

Why do you suppose it is that no one can describe even a hint of the possibility of any mistake made that could have been avoided, once time confusion has been set aside?

???

Perchance, are you trapped in learned helpesness to such an extent that you are nearly deaf and blind to it? Might we all, to some extent, be so trapped?

Could that be why it is so hard to hear what children are asking, in perhaps profoundly tragic ways; and, alas, why it is so hard to see what they are asking after words have been ruled out (thereby leaving only acting out as the final, desperate recourse)?

What if we are being asked a critically essential, existential question?

What if we don't want to hear it?

What if believing in "don't wants" denies to us having our real needs properly met?

What if bad things sometimes happen when we confuse "wants" with "needs?"

What if continuing to ignore our needs because we are distracted by our "don't wants," (as we have apparently been distracted so superbly-terribly for thousands of years) is now putting humanity into truly grave peril?

What if there is a choice, a good and decent choice, that we will be able to make once we know what it is?

What if, to know what the question is, the rest of us need only listen well to those who already know it?

What if we only need to listen to those who, for want of the right to use words, are now acting out that question?

Like, but not limited to, school dropouts?

??? ??? ??? ??? Ooops?

How about:

Columbine? The Nazi holocaust?

How about "torture" of teachers and students by "tightening the screws," so that more and more of the resources that are absolutely essential for real education (that is, sufficient resources in the form of time and materials and individual attention according to actual need) are ever increasingly denied as punishment to education for education being unable to accomplish what is absolutely impossible?

??? ???

In engineering (I have a B.S. (High Honors) and Ph.D. degrees in bioengineering from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and "P.E." after my name signifies that I am a licensed professional engineer), overconstrained problems either have no solution, or the solution is guaranteed to fail under sufficient strain.

Does anyone see that current national educational policy is creating a stunningly overconstrained problem?

Does anyone see education failing under the strain of being overconstrained?

Do those who concoct national and international policies need to study engineering first, so as to be competent as design professionals?

???

Would you really want to cross a bridge over a deep chasm if you knew that the people who designed and built it were absolutely clueless about the nature and use of valid design principles, such as, for a bridge, "strength of materials," or "free body diagrams," or
trigonometry and geometry," or "tensor calculus," or "aerodynamics," or "corrosion engineering"; and indeed, about essentially everything else needed for the design of a safe and dependable bridge?

If not, why not?

??? ???

Perhaps we need to build a bridge from the errors of the past to a society that is actually designed, knowingly and deliberately, using sound and verified engineering principles; designed so as to be truly safe for real people; that is, to be truly safe for the whole realm of real people. Am I beginning to get through to you? If not, why not?

Diversity is not a disease; it is the essence of the true nature of the human condition. What obscures our recognizing that?

Of what are we so awfully afraid? That we have, all of us, somehow been mistaken? Except, of course, the little children?

Except perhaps that we see things upside-down and hear things backwards, what is there to fear except the make-believes that are relentlessly destroying us?

What if the horrendous cost, personal and social, of our precious make-believes is, instead of a measure of their value and worth, a simple, clarion call to stop being so dreadfully, adamantly pridefully stupid?

???

Stupid? Give me a thousand years, and I could never begin to fully describe all the stupid things I have done in learning how to be, I hope, somewhat less stupid.

I find that I an aspect of my life is apparently a severe to profound form of learning disabilty, such that it took me until I was 31 years old to finish college, and until I was 59 years old to finish graduate school with the Ph.D. in bioengineering.

I sometimes find myself to be an awfully slow learner. That just might have something to do with my being autistic. Hmmm?

???

What, you may ask, do I really know about being stupid;, really, truly, idiotically stupid?

Would you let me tell you? Would you believe that having been, for a while, functionally an idiot in the scientific sense of that word as used in psychiatry in the 1930s, is a key to what I am writing here?

In 1986, my brother had developed terminal cancer due to a genetic condition known as Gardner's Syndrome. It causes colon cancer, and the average age of death from cancer in the literature seems to be about 42 if adequate preventive surgeries are not performed in a sufficiently timely manner. I have Gardner's Syndrome. Ever hear of Gardner's Syndrome?

My colon, and some other things, got snatched away in the summer of 1986, before I had developed colon cancer. Is it possible to get colon cancer without a colon?

Morphine given to me for post-surgical pain induced a form of psychosis, which the good doctors diagnosed incorrectly. Would you believe that could happen in the some of the best hospitals anywhere on earth?

By the late spring of 1989, after three years of in-retrospect-inappropriate medications, I had acquired an "oriented times zero" dementia. What is being "oriented times zero"?

I was not properly aware of persons, place, or time. I could not add five and six, I would go to bed in the middle of the day, in aomeone else's bed because I did not know where I was, or that daylight streaming through the hospital windows meant that it was not night. I would walk past my own room, on which my name was written on a large sign, and not recognize my name. Ever been oriented times zero?

Ever have almost everything you ever learned about reality taken away by a profound, persistent iatrogenic psychosis?

Ever have almost everything else taken away by a profound iatrogenic dementia?

Ever have an "IQ" of something in the Mensa range, then have an IQ of perhaps ten or less, and then return to the Mensa IQ range?

Don't believe it? Seem impossible? How else on earth can you imagine that I learned this stuff?

Still dont believe it? My thesis, "Mental Health and Mental Illness: Cause, Purpose, Cure, and Prevention; A Bioengineering Perspective, 1998" can presumably be found in the East Campus Library of the University of Illinois at Chicago, and that it is there can be found on the Internet by checking the catalog of that library.

What happened to me that allowed me to learn this stuff is written down in that thesis, but I was put under terrible time constraints, in clear violation of written University policies, and it could only be written in the time avaliable to me well enough that my five commmitee members could honestly decide that they could not disprove the thesis. Isn't that how real science is always done?

Isn't real science always about making the best model one can devise and then searching for flaws?

Would you entertain the fact that I have been unable to find anyone, after asking over a thousand people so far, who can point to a significant flaw of any sort in the thesis?

???

Ever read Thomas S. Kuhn, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions"?

???

What if we merely have to listen to ourselves and to what we knew, however naively, when we were too little and too young to believe in the apparently absolute and unmitigated lunacy of time confusion; and to all time confusion's stunningly prolific progeny?

Is there anyone "out there" who is willing to test whether what I have perhaps found through my work as a bioengineer?

As a bioengineer who has taken on understanding human society from a possibly profoundly scientific basis?

Is what I a am have been doing of sense or nonsense? What might it take to find out? Perhaps just asking questions?

Is there anyone "out there" in teaching who has the couragge and integrity to see whether I am an idiotic fool or whether I may have learned something real of what school dropouts are asking?

By the standards of conventional wisdom, what I have written here is perhaps totally crazy. Didn't I write that I have been psychotic? Perhaps I might offer the viewpoint that I did psychosis rather well. After all, if it is worth doing, isn't it worth doing well?

Or, might there be a greater truth? What if, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly in order to learn how to do it better, and this is especially true when it has never been done before?

What if, if it is worth doing, it is worth doing poorly for as long as it take to learn to do it well?

What if learning to do it well takes thousands of years?

What if we are only now beginning to learn well how learning works?

???

By any conventional notion of "crazy," I spent some time being "crazy." And that gained me entry into some psychiatric hosptials with other people who, by the standards of society, were "crazy."

But not nearly so "crazy" as society; for, in those hospitals, it was safe to talk about stuff that cannot safely be talked about outside psyhiatric hospitals and similar places.

So, I ask you which is more crazy: Competitively, brutally, ruthlessly slaughtering each other in every way we can concoct in a desperate and incessantly failing cultural insanity intended only to prevent our listening to little children, *OR* treating self and others with decency and respect and honesty and kindness and sharing and collaboration?

Which is less crazy? Would you dare to wonder? If not, why not?

Little children? How about learning what we can remember of what we each knew when we were little children, who had not yet had the chance to develop mastery of time confusion, and the concomitant plethora of deceptions required to hide from what surely appears to me to be a profoundly simple truth?

???

If I, perchance, have found a useful question, is there anyone who is willing to listen to it, and perhaps then, to check it out?

All I ask is that such listening and questioning as may happen be based on respect and kindness. That means excluding ad-hominem arguments and excluding violations of the law of non-contradiction. I find all else to be "fair game." Is that reasonable?

Is anyone out there? Does anyone really care? Does anyone "out there" really, really, really passionalty care?

Does anyone care enough to take the risk of finding out if there is something yet worth learning?

Or, if there really is a practical alternative to what causes school dropouts (and worse), does anyone else but me prefer learning to not take the road of personal and societal destruction all the way to total oblivion, instead of, as we now seem catastrophically intent, "staying the course" to total ruination?

Is teaching other than the facilitation of learning?

Hello?

???

On studying the work of Joseph Campbell on the myths of early humanity, it is really quite apparent to me that the folks who "invented time confusion" have been quite dead for thousands of years. Given that, what might be their legacy for us, today?

How about, for starters, that no one is to blame for our predicament, for we inherited it from people who have been dead for millenia? We have all been caught up in something we did not make, but merely inherited. Wouldn't realizing that allow us to stop blaming anyone and everyone and start attending to what we are learning now?

How about realizing that blame is a superstition and a scientific fraud?

???

I seem to recall that Thomas Edison remarked that he found a thousand ways to not make a light bulb before he found the way to make one. But that first way has also become a way to not make a light bulb, for carbon filament light bulbs are terribly efficient. Is there something yet to learn about light bulbs?

Quartz-halogen bulbs are more efficient than regular tungsten-argon bulbs, but quartz-haolgen bulbs are so terribly hot that they may have caused quite a few fires. Fluorescent lamps are fairly efficient and not so hot, but there is that little toxic mercury thing about them. Is there more we are learning about how to make a light bulb?

Light-emitting diodes are the most efficient light sources of which I am aware. Almost no heat, almost nothing all that toxic in them. Manufacturing them is still something of a problem, but the quantum efficiency of a light emitting diode can be remarkably high, so I observe.

What else of the "light of truth" have we yet to recognize?

???

I am a Wisconsin certified master electrician. Have I asked any electrifying questions?

I am also an FCC licensed amateur radio operator with an extra class license. I furthermore have an FCC commercial radiotelephone license with ship radar endorsment.

Has the above shocked anyone into pondering alternatives to what seems to have been proven, beyond any possibility of doubt, to not ever have any chance to work decently?

To have never worked? To not be working now? To not ever work in an infinitude of eternities?

Perhaps we are all amateurs at sorting out how to live our lives in decent ways within respectful community. Perhaps amateur radio will work; for enough electricity to shock people awake might be lethal?

What is amateur radio? It is amateurs at the process of communication talking with each other.

Which makes for a more useful learning experience?
Being vaporized by a themonuclear bomb, or reading and understanding some simple, gentle words?

"CQ CQ CQ de W9GUO W9GUO W9GUO K"

I listen...

"CQ CQ CQ de W9GUO W9GUO W9GUO K"

I listen...

"CQ CQ CQ de W9GUO W9GUO W9GUO K"

I am still actively listening...

How long shall I listen only to the circa 2.3 Kelvin background of the "big bang," and otherwise only to silence?

What if the purportedly-real professionals know all to well what is untrue somewhere deep inside, but their social status as profesionals pretends to demand of them that they propagate the make-believe until there is almost no one left to believe anything, whether make-believe or real?

What if what terrifies us the most is being found out as being just plain ordinary? What if that is all that is possible? What if it is both fully necessary and fully sufficient? What then?

What did Dr. Abraham A. Low, founder of the self-help group, Recovery, Inc. write and say?

"If we lower our standards, our performance will rise." Why? Because we are in hot pursuit of impossible and profoundly destructive "undesirable exceptionality"?

Why do we persist in the childish game of "king of the mountain" until there may soon be nothing left?

Who, among us, is other than an amateur at learning how to live decently?

(Do you know that, in the amateur radio tradition, "CQ" means, "calling any amateur station," and that "de" means "from" and that "K" means, "go ahead"? Oh, by the way, my amateur radio call sign is W9GUO.))

For whomsoever amongst us is it so that our true station in life other than that of an amateur?

CQ, CQ, CQ, CQ.....

The children of the world are crying, trying to learn the ways of lying, and are dying. Who will truly hear the children's cries? Who will stop culture's dastardly, time-confused lies?

Or is it better to make of earth a hellfire, in which everyone fries? Why not, instead, look up, and see the light, in earth's beautiful skys?

J. Brian Harris, Ph.D., P.E.
Wisconsin Professional Engineer no 34106

[email protected]

You've asked some profound questions, Dr. Harris...the most profound I have written or heard this day. I believe this IS all a symptom of a greater problem. What say you to this question...Ever wonder what would happen if we changed our thinking? We must keep in mind that the wellness of our thinking determines our health, relatioships and destiny. Change the thinkin'. We live over 95% of our lives inside; 99/9% of our thinking consists of verbal, not sensory consciousness. Ever wonder if we reconnect with ourselves with nature within and without that our problems would be lessened greatly, if not all together done away with? Reconnecting with nature by becoming literate in nature's natural attractions is truly a viable, vital, and responsible way to gain happiness. Still wondering and enjoying the questions as that is what it is all about. Mary

One typo is perhaps worth fixing in my previous post. Near the end, the sentence starting with "For whomsoever...," "...in life other..." should be "...in life is other..."

As to the question raised by Mary Risinger, as to what would happen if we change our thinking (from time confused to correctly time oriented), I have given that considerable thought and study.

It seems to me that time confusion leads to self-disrespect that can go all the way to such intense self-hatred as, projected onto others, is more than sufficient to cause every form of wanton human destructiveness to be found.

It certainly is enough to lead politicians to trash schools in the misguided notion that hurting someone or something will make the someone or something better.

Absent self-hatred, what do I find if I use a system dynamics model to generate scenarios of human society absent self-disrespect in essentially every form?

Methinks no one would end up in the sort of learned helplessness that now blocks educators from informing public policy makers of error when policy makers come up with counterproductive policies. And policy makers would listen attentively and respond effectively.

What would happen would not be a panacea, but, instead of doing things that make it worse while intending to make things better, and staying the course all the way to catastrophe, when things are not going well, it would be simple to change direction because egotistical issues would be rather absent. That would be because people would have a valid sense of self-respect because they would not have to hide behind a facade of make-believes.

Simply being present in the moment as a human being would be all that anyone would ever need to do.

There is an interesting little book, now perhaps out of print, by Valerian Derlega and Alan Chaikin, "Sharing Intimacy: What We Reveal to Others and Why," that touches upon what allows us to share our lives in meaningful ways with others and what isolates us from ourselves and others.

Perhaps what I find seems most likely to happen can be put another way, for clarity. If we stop living with time confusion, I find it most likely that we will not have self-hatred, even in very mild forms, and will not have hatred for anyone or anything else, and we will stop fighting ourselves, our lives, and the rest of the world in which we live.

That, anyway is the outcome of every sort of system dymanics model I have been able to generate.

Can we please get back on topic??? PLEASE??

I have been told that there is a fine line between genius and insanity. After reading the last post or two, I believe it.

Back to the topic....Kids drop out for a number of reasons. Almost every post seems to point fingers at schools, at teachers and everyone, but the kid. Kids learn what they live. Students I teach don't always link education to wealth and prosperity. They link hard work to wealth and prosperity. Students that have parents that do not see education as a way out often follow in their footsteps. It is a vicious cycle.

Kids today are spoiled. If something is too hard, they give up. If they don't want to do it, they don't. If they start something and get bored, they quit. Parents and homes need to reinforce values of persistence and necessity. You might not want to do it, but you need to do it.

Also, as an educator, I see the need for education. But if we are all doctors and lawyers, who is going to bag our groceries and pick up our trash? There is a place for all students and we need to value them, educated or not. We need to teach them to be the best that they can be at whatever they are doing. Generations before us never went to school, never finished school and progress still occured and we are no less fortunate because of it.

I do agree that restructing the school system would help. Schools need to focus on students, and their life after high school, rather than SAT scores, tests, tests, and more tests. Thought I agree students need to be educated to be useful citizens, not all students need the same slate of courses that are deemed necessary.

Five references for possible perusal?

David L. Rosenhan, "On Being Sane in Insane Places," Science, Vol. 179 (Jan. 1973) pp. 250-258.

Alice Miller, "Thou Shalt Not Be Aware: Society's Betrayal of the Child," Meridian, 1984.

Bob Mullan, "Mad to Be Normal: Conversations with R. D. Laing," Free Association Books, 1995.

Silvano Arieti, "Creativity: The Magic Synthesis," Basic Books, 1976.

Robert Scaer, "The Trauma Spectrum: Hidden Wounds and Human Resiliency," W. W. Norton, 2005.

Thank you for the above references listed. It would do well to consider this statement made in relation to the topic (Why Do Kids Drop Out?) being discussed: "We do not begin to think until we are confronted by a problem." (John Dewey)
I was attracted to your statement as it says it all, "Simply being present in the moment as a human being would be all that anyone would ever need to do." Therefore, everything we humans are experiencing, including high school drops outs, is a symptom of a much greater problem-our perception/our thinking. "We are suffering a kind of collective hypnosis, a cultural trance that prevents us from seeing things the way they really are." William Irwin Thompson
Still enjoying the discussion.

I have taught for over thirty years. I don't know where your "recent study" was conducted, but every student I have known who has dropped out has been failing academically, unwilling to put forth any effort in school, despite every effort of faculty. Some have been involved with drugs or other means of escape. Most have been on the verge of being expelled from school.

In general, teachers are there for their students, but I and my colleagues are not there to "entertain" our students. As teachers continue to vary their teaching methods, made adaptations, modifications, and in general, expect less from students than we did years ago, we continue to be blamed for every problem incurred by our youth today. Until we look at the families our potential dropouts come from, we will never be able to better serve children.

Susan Sugarman
Pequannock Township High School
Pompton Plains, NJ

If the words, "your recent study" refer to the research I have done and continue to do, it has been conducted in the ordinary course of my life, just as my comments here are part of the ordinary course of my life.

I am going public with the results here, for the first time, because I hold to the view that it is classroom teachers who are the people best able to critique the findings of my research. I have nothing against education professors, but most of the electrical engineering professors I had never hand-dug a ditch for an underground electrical service. I have. Most of them never repaired wiring in a crawl space a couple feet high, with standing water almost everywhere. I have.

I prefer to work with people who "are in the trenches," rather than those whose views are mainly abstract theory, because life in the trenches can be awfully more real than life in an isolated ivory tower.

Every watch newborn and nearly newborn babies? I worked for about twenty years at Cook County Chilren's Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois. While very young babies are all remarkably one-of-a-kind in almost every non-trivial respect, I never observed a very young baby who did not work at learning so intensely that it was necessary to take a nap several times a day to "assimilate" what was being learned.

It is years of observing babies and young children that led me to note that something tended to happen around the age of two (long before schools can have any effect) that seemed to be the start of a form of learned helplessness. It is those observations, combined with my having spent many months in the intensive care unit of Forest Hospital (now defunct) in Desplaines, Illinois, with mostly pre-teen and teen-age youth, talking with them in ways they could not talk with staff or their doctors, that gave me a way to understand how learned helplessness is the reason school children become unwilling to put forth any effort other than to resist the system. I find that tragic.

I have more references:

Lance Dodes, MD, "The Heart of Addiction" (Quill, 2002), shows in ways I find scientifically convincing that addiction is really an aspect of the psychological defense of displacement.

Alice Miller, "Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries" (Anchor Books, 1990).

Jonathan Kozol, "Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools" (Harper Perennial, 1991) may help if one allows that inequalities happen when one person is expected to be much like another if indeed the two people have strikingly different ability, learning enviornment, and accomplishment profiles

A study that I find quite remarkable, though it was done over 50 years ago, is Fritz Redl and David Wineman, "Children Who Hate: (Free Press, 1951) and "Controls From Within: Techniques for the Treatment of the Aggressive Child" (Free Press, 1952)

I have found Timothy Miller, Ph.D., "How to Want What You Have: Discovering the Grandeur of Ordinary Existence" (Avon Books, 1995) to be a decent description of how to "live in the moment" rather well.

George E. Vaillant, "Adaptation to Life" (Little, Brown and Co., 1977) contains a fairly thorough description of psychological defenses.

I note that it is easy to blame the students who are "lazy" without asking them what happened to them to make them "lazy." It is amazingly hard to get "lazy" children to tell what happened to them to "make them lazy," because, as I note, what such children told me when they knew that I had no power over them that could ever hurt them again, were, in the most severe examples, rather terrified of being hurt again.

I have searched for any other explanation than learned helplessness for why some "failing students" choose to not make the effort expected of them.

I am neither ashamed nor proud of having been put through an iatrogenic psychosis and dementia. However terrible that was for me and for my family, it did allow me to talk with children who were terrified of society and who, like me, had found our (reality-distorting) defenses effectively stripped away.

Some of them asked me, if I could ever find a way, to tell what their lives were like because they had found it impossible to comply with other people's expectations. I do not out them, that would only add to the cruelty they subjectively experienced. I, however, am not afraid of "The Big Bad Wolf," and, in accord with their requests, am doing as they asked me to do, now that I seem to have recovered enough from the dementia to be able to start finding words that work.

Perhaps my words are working poorly. If so, I am truly sorry. It takes time to recover from the brain damage that goes along with a profound dementia of the sort I was put through. Alas, the "good doctors" simply didn't know any better, or they would have done better. I find there is no one at fault, no one properly blamed. I only seek to be of help, in kind, gentle, and truly decent ways.

David Mills wrote >

Nationally the percentage of gifted dropouts is around 20-25% and this figure is pretty much the same in our school district. I am the mom of a gifted dropout. She quit in 10th grade and got her diploma through a "work keys" program in three months time. It was her ticket out and a life saver. She too, breezed through elementary school with straight A's, was never challenged, so when the first B hit in 8th grade (not for lack of understanding, but for not handing in tedious and repetitious math homework anymore) she was devastated. Only 14 years old she started the spiral downward and failed completely academically. She also suffered from major depression, something school did not intervene for until it was too late and too little to salvage credits for graduation with.

Long story short(er), she's exceptionally gifted. Tested during her depression (for SPED services) with a score of 141 on the WISC. The score may have been depressed by up to 10 points,...anyway no wonder she never felt challenged at school and never made friends. She left school with her self esteem and even academic self-confidence badly damaged. It took her four years to regain her bearings and now at 21 (after one year at a Junior college) is doing exceptionally well at a four-year college where she's at Junior standing. She's majoring in philosophy.

My son of 18 is also intellectually, as well as academically gifted. He is in his last semester of high school. It's a struggle for him to hang in there....was ready to quit school at Christmas break. He has a stellar GPA of 3.89 but finds school boring and tedious. He took the GED practice test and scored perfect in both math and science portions and high on the written test.

It was not until my daughter was 12 that I began to become knowledgeable about giftedness. School never informed/educated us. I did not believe bright kids like her could fail! Now I know better and also know the reasons why they fail.

For the past three years I have volunteered at my kids' high school where I help the GT coordinator make contact with the identified gifted kids on the roster who are not in IB. I am especially interested in the ones with C's, D's and F's who are at-risk of dropping out. I also have concern for the ones with straight A's.

Anyway, my contact with them is very gratifying and I hope I can make a difference to some of them. I share a bit of what it means to be an intellectually gifted individuaI, give them an excerpt from the book "Gifted Adults" and generally help them put things in a healthy perspective. I let them know there are other roads to success. My daughter is good proof of that. Our son will also start out at the Junior college, not because he needs to build up proof by means of a healthy GPA, but because it saves us a bundle of money that way.

It is a shame that the good colleges would not consider giving my daughter a full ride scholarship, simply because she did not excel in high school. She's truly phenomenal in her thinking, just like some other very gifted kids who have fallen through the cracks but who, as a result of that, were then overlooked also.

And then to think that some of the Merit Scholarship winners are not college material after all, and quit in or soon after their first year!

I checked out the link to the article in USATODAY from Brett and quote "What many of the American kids I taught did not have was the motivation, self-discipline or work ethic of the foreign-born kids."

I loathe the referral to lack of work ethic. That is exactly what teachers are trying to instill in students, by coercing them to do practice homework, whether the kid needs it or not! In other words, students cannot decide not to do the homework (like I could when I was in high school in The Netherlands, where homework is not counted in the final grade!)or, if they do, they will be penalized for it. It happened to my gifted daughter. She scored A's and B's on assessments, but because of 0's added for drill homework not handed in, she got D's, which at the time was a failing grade.

I believe that students need to decide for themselves whether they need the homework for practice or not. The consequence of their decision will then show on the assessment, won't it? That is how you teach self-discipline and even motivation!

Also, in my earlier response see above I meant to quote what David Mills wrote on 03/09/06, but it did not show, so I will paste it below for reference.

"It would be interesting to see how many of the students dropping out could be considered gifted, it seems so many of the students in alternative education programs are precocious students that could not fit in. It also seems that many students dropping out were high achievers in the early school years and then dropped out of involvement in the classroom before physically dropping out.
Any student dropping out is a liability, and to see so many of these students, who are very competent individuals, being lost is an ignominy.
Paradoxically, so many of the students interviewed, when asked, “What did people say when you dropped out?” replied, “Nobody asked.”

My daughter was not asked either. It's like once these kids are gone, school thinks "Good riddance". It's probably because they are allowed to keep the funding they received in October. Maybe if they had to refund the remaining portion of Pupil Funding they'd be more interested in keeping students from dropping out!
In Colorado, the state legislature wants to make schooling compulsory until age 18! Right now it is unitl 16. They think this will solve the dropout problem.I guess a law is an easier answer than improving schools so kids would want to stay voluntarily!

Does anyone know if states with compulsory schooling until 18 actually have a lower dropout rate?

Like you and many others, I am recovering from this so called Natural Systems Disorder (NSD). It is indeed a ‘learned helplessness’ that is imposed upon all of us, not placing blame on any one sector of society, as all of us have this disconnection to some degree or another. I took a year off of teaching this last year to further my studies and to heal from this insanity/disconnection. I have learned much about myself and how/why ‘we’ continually abuse ourselves, society, and the environment and why particularly students are dropping out. It is a destructive cycle but help is out there in the way of changing our thinking habits imposed upon us.
How to reconnect? The Natural Systems Thinking Process (NSTP), pioneered by Michael J. Cohen, Ed.D, is a tool that is offered folks to help with this reconnection process. He strongly believes that we subconsciously learn to numb ourselves to the insanity of the world, thus dropping out of the school of life which its effects are felt throughout the world: increasing wars, pollution, addictions and yes, even dropping out of school. We drop out and feel overwhelmed due “to our inability to produce the heaven on earth that our soul innately knows and constantly seeks” (Cohen, 2003, p. 9). My research has concluded, backed up by my experience, that natural systems in humans, likewise in the environment, have the inherent capacity to build healthy relationships which promote life by learning to ‘re-connect’. NSTP works because it uses nature to teach thereby enabling people to create thoughtful moments, restoring into their consciousness the wisdom and integrity of their natural intelligence. Allowing the process to work takes time and trust. Have you noticed lately an abundance of outdoor education and garden efforts around the world?
I am in total agreement with your line of thinking and applaud all your efforts to regain sanity. After all, hasn’t society had a multiplicity of technologies and social processes to significantly improve our compatibility with natural systems? Yes! They lie dormant though, due to not restoring the consciousness necessary to provoke mainstream society’s insistence to using the tools. But a shift has begun to happen; I can feel it, and perhaps you can, too.
If interested in reading more about Cohen’s NSTP and regenerative ecopsychology techniques that help people restore balance, I invite you and the public to these links: www.ecopsych.com and to Karen’s experience, her story while a junior in high school:
http://www.ecopsych.com/iupskaren.html

As far as additional sources of information, these have been helpful for me, too, in regaining sanity:

Glendinning. C. (1994). My name is Chellis and I’m in recovery from western civilization. Boston, Shambhala.

Murchie, G. (1978). Seven mysteries of life. Boston, Mass: Houghton Mifflin.

Pearce, J. (1980). Magical child. New York, New York: Bantam.

Thank you once again for the time and space in which to communicate my concerns and thoughts about ‘dropping out’ and what to do about it now.

References
Cohen, M. (2003). The web of life imperative: regenerative ecopsychology techniques that help people think in balance with natural systems. Victoria, CAN: .

I think many students drop out because they are bored- or invisible. Their needs are not being addressed and they feel like they are disappearing. I also believe that by 6th grade many kids are burned out. We push,push, push them ---- they don't have time to process content and practice it in meaningful ways. Many stress about testing and are tired of it. Many teachers teach in the same old way... year after year... I'd be bored! Schools are forced to try to clone students so that all are the same. They take the same classes, attempt the same tests - all in the same ways. Our society needs all sorts of individuals in order to keep on thriving. Not everyone will be an academic. Teachers are burning out trying to do it all. Kids fall through the cracks. Many parents are trying to survive financially and or emotionally; they have no energy to help their child at home. The system is riddled with contributing factors; we are all responsible in some way.

I believe most students drop out because they are not engaged in the traditional classroom learning. They need something else to spark their interest. We need to offer traning in skills that will lead to certification. Students need to understand there is a tangible benefit to an education. If more students were able to become certified in Microsoft technologies or as a LPN, MLT or another carreer field, then I think more students will stay in school in order to reach that goal. Many of our students are not looking to go on to the post-secondary school level. We do not offer enough programs to meet the needs of those students. These are the students who are dropping out.

I believe it is rare for a college bound student to give up and drop out in high school.

I am a gifted adult, was a gifted child, and suffered a nervous breakdown in sixth grade, even though the work was not killing me. It was the fact that so many of the kids in the GATE program were so different from each other, while we were now amongst our intellectual peers, FINALLY, we had nothing in common. This is not trivial, we were not genius clones. We were all so different that everyone had their very own, very personalized educational plans. Some of us could play classical concert piano, some of us could only read second grade level but do twelfth grade math. We were lonely, and this is what we had in common with ALL children...how do I fit into the world SOCIALLY??? The ratios for depression among my classmates were not different from other students, but the affliction was more intense. Kids are kids are kids, gifted or not. We were all emotional beings and the foundation for confidence and achieving goals at school starts at home.

My brother dropped out of high school with one semester left. It was the best choice he could have possibly made at the time. Given any situation, the choice one makes at that moment in time is always the best choice possible. Knowledge of the future is not possible at the time a choice must be made. I am a college dropout, but plan to eventually finish my undergraduate degree. Dropping out of college was the best choice I could have made at the time. Kids who drop out of high school make the best choice possible at the time. Do they realize the impact dropping out could have on them in the future? No. Do they know that they will have a lower quality of living in the future? no. They make the best choice possible given the situation they are in.

My brother dropped out of high school with one semester left. It was the best choice he could have possibly made at the time. Given any situation, the choice one makes at that moment in time is always the best choice possible. Knowledge of the future is not possible at the time a choice must be made. I am a college dropout, but plan to eventually finish my undergraduate degree. Dropping out of college was the best choice I could have made at the time. Kids who drop out of high school make the best choice possible at the time. Do they realize the impact dropping out could have on them in the future? No. Do they know that they will have a lower quality of living in the future? no. They make the best choice possible given the situation they are in.

i think kids should be able to drop out its their choice if they want to go to school or not why kids drop out is because teacher are fuckin gay they dont know how to teach and they dont want to help there students graduate so they think what is the point in staying in school when I'm failing everything?

I find the "responses" from Jen and Tosha to be terribly important, yet the predicament for those of use who teach or who do research on education is how to understand what they wrote in a constructive and useful way.

I find that Jen attributes to the situation what leads students to drop out of school with remarkable and profound accuracy. Students who drop out (as I have done more than once in the past) really do make the best possible choice, given an accurate understanding of their individual situations.

Tosha describes, with stunning accuracy, what I have noted time and time again in the lives of students whose "learning, knowledge, ability, talent, and needs" profiles are absolutely incompatible with "reality-as-defined-by-unwitting-adamantly-profound-consensus-ignorance."

What decent choice exists for students who find their experiences in school to be as though an unending sequence of tortures? What does someone do who, on being trapped in such a sequence of subjectively-experienced tortures, to validate a useful sense of self within a practical framework of mercy?

What impedes our (teachers, educators, and educational researchers) listening with our full attention to people who have essential information we really, desperately need to well and wisely fulfill our vocations?

What if what impedes "us" is some form of "reality-as-defined-by-unwitting-adamantly-profound-consensus-ignorance"?

How can "we" ever learn to listen, fully present and with our full attention, to those who can tell, quite precisely and with terrible accuracy, what it is that we need to know, if we judge them before we even begin to listen?

Anyone watch the movie, "War Games"? Ever remember how to win that game? What did the computer finally learn? Something like, "Strange game... The only way to win is to not play the game."

If the game is educators knowing better what students need, and know and need to know, than students do, then I find that the only way to win with students is to not play that game.

Tosha and Jen, thank you for your direct, passionate honesty and truthfulness. You have spoken. Now it is for others to listen...

I am listening. Am I alone?

i also think that the only real reason kids drop out is becaus peer-presure from the teachers and student because they dont want to have to deel with any of there peers or teachers im only 16 and i know alot of dropouts and they tell me that the only reason why they dropout out was because they cant take they crap from everyone and other students are tell kids to start smoking and teacher want them to listen SCHOOL IS NOT FUN school is suppose to be fun then teachers wonder why there students are falling asleep in there classes! BECAUSE IT IS BORING!

I hold the view that school being "fun" is or is not important, depending on what one means by "fun."

If "fun" is about school being meaningful to a student, and therefore worthwhile, then "fun" is the essence of a good and decent education.

When I talk with grade-, middle-, and high-school students, those who find school meaningful tend to enjoy school and tend to do reasonably well. Those who find school "boring" tell me that the classes, lessons, and learning goals and objectives (those are not the words they tend to use, but I prefer to avoid vulgar language here) are not only meaningless to their foreseeable lives, but tend to mess them up.

There are students who find school to be a bad experience and who tend to try to cope by making school a bad experience for as many people as is practical. That informs me that such students' main goal in school may sometimes be sabotage of the system. Alas, the more school policies "tighten the screws" on such students, the greater becomes their proclivity for motivation to do more sabotage.

I have heard many students tell of their reality in much the way Tosha does. Why do such cries for being heard go so terribly unheard? Of what are adults afraid? Of themselves? Or of what they have done to their children in tragic response to what was done to them?

Will the vicious cycles of sadly unwitting yet abusive teaching ever stop? If not, what future hath humanity?

On looking back on my life, I find that I grew up in an uncommonly decent and kindly home, one in which I was given essentially unconditional respect by my parents.

School was sometimes something else. In second grade at Marshall School in Eureka, California, I was met with shattering abuse as an autistic child. I was repeatedly paddled to the point of agitated catatonia because my teacher and the principle deemed my autism to be some sort of purely willful, malicious defiance.

I do know that school can be torture for some students; it was, at times, torture for me. I survived, probably because my childhood home was a remarkably safe place, where I could talk about anything that concerned me, and could do so with almost perfect safety. Such homes, then and now, seem to me to be sadly uncommon.

Schools where some students subjectively experience something like torture seem perhaps more common now than back then, perhaps in large measure because of the ever-increasing disrespect for individual learning ability factors.

Teen suicide rates seem to have increased since I was a schoolchild. Could it be that more children are finding life unbearably painful? Who is listening to the children, really listening?

I continue to listen. Am I alone?

I hold the view that school being "fun" is or is not important, depending on what one means by "fun."

If "fun" is about school being meaningful to a student, and therefore worthwhile, then "fun" is the essence of a good and decent education.

When I talk with grade-, middle-, and high-school students, those who find school meaningful tend to enjoy school and tend to do reasonably well. Those who find school "boring" tell me that the classes, lessons, and learning goals and objectives (those are not the words they tend to use, but I prefer to avoid vulgar language here) are not only meaningless to their foreseeable lives, but tend to mess them up.

There are students who find school to be a bad experience and who tend to try to cope by making school a bad experience for as many people as is practical. That informs me that such students' main goal in school may sometimes be sabotage of the system. Alas, the more school policies "tighten the screws" on such students, the greater becomes their proclivity for motivation to do more sabotage.

I have heard many students tell of their reality in much the way Tosha does. Why do such cries for being heard go so terribly unheard? Of what are adults afraid? Of themselves? Or of what they have done to their children in tragic response to what was done to them?

Will the vicious cycles of sadly unwitting yet abusive teaching ever stop? If not, what future hath humanity?

On looking back on my life, I find that I grew up in an uncommonly decent and kindly home, one in which I was given essentially unconditional respect by my parents.

School was sometimes something else. In second grade at Marshall School in Eureka, California, I was met with shattering abuse as an autistic child. I was repeatedly paddled to the point of agitated catatonia because my teacher and the principle deemed my autism to be some sort of purely willful, malicious defiance.

I do know that school can be torture for some students; it was, at times, torture for me. I survived, probably because my childhood home was a remarkably safe place, where I could talk about anything that concerned me, and could do so with almost perfect safety. Such homes, then and now, seem to me to be sadly uncommon.

Schools where some students subjectively experience something like torture seem perhaps more common now than back then, perhaps in large measure because of the ever-increasing disrespect for individual learning ability factors.

Teen suicide rates seem to have increased since I was a schoolchild. Could it be that more children are finding life unbearably painful? Who is listening to the children, really listening?

I continue to listen. Am I alone?

Anyone here read Thomas Blass, Ph.D., "The Man Who Shocked the World: The Life and Legacy of Stanley Milgram," Basic Books, 2004?

What is the nature of obedience to authority, and what do students do when they find the authority to be authoritarian and distinctly, decidedly, and unconscionably not authoritative?

Conventional punishments, as in the basis principles of NCLB, do create forms of learning, but are they ever anything other than forms of learned helplessness?

"Help!" cry the children. Who has ears to hear?

My son Zack is only interested in learning material that directly relates to his plans for his future. He is an intelligent boy but had no interest in attending 2 years of classes not related to the field he wanted to study - Bus/Design. I trully feel if he was able to take classes in his field his freshman year at college he would have stayed in school. Zack explains it like this "I had to take all this stuff I was not interested in in high school - I was not into it all over again in college". We miss the boat with all of these general education class requirements. Drop them and allow the kids to study more feild specific topics - keeping them interested is the answer. Nancy Citro

As a high School drop out myself, maybe we should examine how the System operates vs. the needs and learning styles of the student.

Brian Harris said "I do know that school can be torture for some students; it was, at times, torture for me. I survived, probably because my childhood home was a remarkably safe place, where I could talk about anything that concerned me, and could do so with almost perfect safety. Such homes, then and now, seem to me to be sadly uncommon.

Schools where some students subjectively experience something like torture seem perhaps more common now than back then, perhaps in large measure because of the ever-increasing disrespect for individual learning ability factors.

Teen suicide rates seem to have increased since I was a schoolchild. Could it be that more children are finding life unbearably painful? Who is listening to the children, really listening?

I continue to listen. Am I alone?"
------------
No you are not, but we are certainly in the minority and not in a position to create the much needed change. The State of Colorado is going to make school compulsory until age 18. Currently it was possible to drop out at 16, but the high dropout rate makes schools look bad. With the NCLB mandate, that of course matters. The bill is heavily supported by principals and Boards of Education.

So, instead of making schooling qualitatively better, it simply mandates students to stay, whether they need to or not. It will hold back the most able students; what will be the point for some highly intelligent kids to accelerate through the curriculum if they will be stuck? I too foresee a lot of boredom, frustration, pain and the possibility of suicides.

The bill will also require all students, freshmen through seniors, to take a full course load. No more sleeping in every other day for seniors, no more free periods, and then there's homework of course! How will this effect the 50% of students in our school district (mostly Hispanic) from low socio-economic background who work after school to help support their family's income?

What about the crushed and tortured souls who underachieve and do not get the support needed to feel validated and confident in order to succeed?

The only waiver for "getting out of school" is for 17 year-olds to join the military. The age at which the GED can be taken has been raised by one year (to 18) as well. What misery will await?

Bunny said "I am a gifted adult, was a gifted child, and suffered a nervous breakdown in sixth grade, even though the work was not killing me. It was the fact that so many of the kids in the GATE program were so different from each other, while we were now amongst our intellectual peers, FINALLY, we had nothing in common. This is not trivial, we were not genius clones. We were all so different that everyone had their very own, very personalized educational plans. Some of us could play classical concert piano, some of us could only read second grade level but do twelfth grade math. We were lonely, and this is what we had in common with ALL children...how do I fit into the world SOCIALLY??? The ratios for depression among my classmates were not different from other students, but the affliction was more intense. Kids are kids are kids, gifted or not. We were all emotional beings and the foundation for confidence and achieving goals at school starts at home."
-----------

You are so right! Gifted individuals differ more from each other than people in the general population. Why? Because there are so many fewer gifted kids/individuals to begin with!

The best thing that can be done for gifted kids is to be understood (fully; by reading about the complexities involved) and accepted by their parents and family members. School typically do a poor job of meeting their needs.

How are you doing now? My daughter is highly gifted and has always experienced the sense of loneliness and not really belonging in this world.
Contact me through my blog http://sfireblue.blogspot.com/2006/03/rejection-can-lead-to-depression.html if you like. I'm a GT advocate and would certainly be helped with more of your insights!

Brian Harris said "If the game is educators knowing better what students need, and know and need to know, than students do, then I find that the only way to win with students is to not play that game."

Are you familiar with the books by John Taylor Gatto? Only real educators are open-minded enough to hold a mirror to their own teaching and display a willingness to learn of better ways to connect with students.

Kids/teens tend to drop out of school becuase teachers are not as suportive as they should be us students are forced by law to go to school from age 7 to 17 ....the least teachers and faculty can do is make the time we HAVE to spend there more acomidating .....I Dropd out in seventh grade....My Math teacher said exact words: "Your a waste of paper" then he continued "well I Cant send you home....so you might as well sit down"..Im not gonna sit in class and study for papers i have to do if im not treated like im wanted there..I mean yes we are kids we are not as old or as "wise" as the ones who teach us but we deserve respect, and we are not gonna stay some where with ppl who dont give it...

I was reading the coments and i noticed that you think its the kids fault they drop out we are not at risk of droping out we are just more prone to you teachers failures .....

Kids need somone to trust if we cant trust our teachers and principals while we are in school then who...who can we trust.. i mean you are suposed to help us and be our guides ...alot of kids dont feel welcomed at all they dont feel like they are being helpd well at least the ones ive been to school with and school administrations thrive on making our live missurable ....they make a program in school that help students learn but as soon as they get some where the admins take it away ........

You wanna know how I passed my reading portion of my GED Video games .... a type ...not like mario where there is nothing involved but this called RPGs...Role Playing Games..Ive only read 2 things in my life one was a Book called the great train robery and the other was the instructions on how to make Chocolate cookies....Now i have playd RPGs alot now these types of gaims your are placed in a fantasy world with made up charictors...and you go around fighting things with a simple .....select and use command system...now your sitting back reading this and saying to your self what does this have to do with reading ....well for one you have objectives that are told to you once only once and they are told to you by written words on the screen .....now if im not mistaken i belive you need to have reading comprehention to figure out what charictors are saying in the game have to do with what your next objective is ......i went from beating these games in weeks even months to beating them in hours .......i got a 720 on my Reading test.....i dont think thats bad for a 7th grade drop out that faild reading twice

I am listening....are others? Students say that they are passionate about certain subjects and not others. Some say that they know what they want to do with their life while in or after high school. Shouldn't we try to tailor their educational program to their strengths, likes and passions? Motivation to study, learn and grow in areas they are interested in would solve many problems. I believe if the educational system would allow students to learn what is motivating them at the time, like the Sudbury model schools, undergirded with democratic principles, we would have more successful and happier folks all the way 'round. Here's the Sudbury school link in case you are interested:
http://www.sudval.org/
Thanks for listening.

true true yes yes mmmmmmm

why do kids drop P.E. after one year because they don't like it? i need the spific numbers for a project at school! thanks alot!

I think its because of a number of factors, drugs, low marks, family issues, less motivation etc. As a parent kids are getting bored so they try new things ex. drugs for a new taste of doing something new. In classes they don't teach FUN its just boring old text book!

well i love drop outs. they rock
i wish they were them :]

o0o0o i mostley love gay dropouts.

they rock even more :]]

I'm not so sure we have a dropout problem. Society has a problem in that it believes all kids should have the same interests, goals, and strengths, and when the kids tell us that's not for me, it's a problem? Let's try helping the kids become who they are destined to be. If the schools are able to do that, then they've done all they can and should do to change the outcomes.

blah blah blah...you dont know what the heck your talking about...you sure do sound stupid to me!haha u suck!

:]

Mary, thanks for the link. It seems like an interesting model. I suspect it's good for some kids and not so good for others. While the academic freedom may be good for some, it's probably not good for others. I suspect more intelligent children do better in such an environment. The objective should be to put kids in environments that are best for their personality and potential. I dare suggest that some children should not be on a college track, which is the only track in our system today. College is not the right track or choice for everyone. Academic freedom should include the freedom to be on a track other than college.

Bravo!!!! For the good comment and observation: if students could be put in the 'kind of educational' environment where it best meets their needs perhaps this could solve many a problem. I think this is part of the solution! But part of the problem would be to determine how to best find out what would meet their needs and then try to find a school nearby that would meet those needs...etc. etc. Thanks for the continuing comments as I do check back by every now and then.

students after high school find college difficult because they've never studied hard in high school

Well I was doing a project on education issues for history and I decided to do mine on kids who drop out and why. I read over many of your comments and thought that many of you had valid points. Im 16 years old and I know many people who have dropped out or won't be graduating with their class. Being a student who has struggled with school all her life and is surrounded by people who have the same problem I have a strong opinion on why this happens. No student is the same, we all have different ways of learning and unfortunately the teachers cant stop and teach the subjects differently for every student. They can only teach they way they know how and for some students that doesn't work. Many of us have given up hope, we go through so much more than most adults know and we're just trying to get where most of you are now; with jobs,a good education, families, in other words...a life. We wan't to get there, but sadly many of us don't have anyone to motivate us and we're not being given the help we need. After a death of a very close friend who committed suicide, I had even a hard time doing my work in school. I got far behind and I am now taking 12 classes and 2 after school classes. It's been one of the hardest things for me, but I'm doing it. I'm passing my classes and I'm going to graduate. It just kills me to think that my class won't me walking down the isle to recieve their diploma with me. Sorry for using this comment box as a diary, I just thought I could help some of you better understand what's going on in our lives.

why do kids drop out? if someone nos tell me plezzz ok going to go bye everone

well everyone has different opinions on why this happends but if you read all these responses above you might be able to find one that makes sense to you. Im a 16 year old student so if you want my opinion its posted above. However, there are many other great comments up here that you might find more helpful

Kids drop out for many different reasons one may be and in alot of cases is the fact that their family needs hem at home it may be of finanical problems or in need of being cared for. Then as many of you have said it is too boring to listen to. Not many teachers now a days like the behavior of their students so they just give up on the kids especially in public highschools.

Kids stay in and drop out of High school primarily because they can.
Both those in and out of the school system expect a personal positive benefit as a result of their choices.
Blaming anyone but the kids is a big mistake.

When you place all the blame on the kids you are saying the schools, and their parents aren't to blame. That not true. I am a 16 year old gifted student in all AP classes, and I am doing very well, but I have to admit that I want to drop-out because I am bored. When I say I am bored I mean my teachers, and my school, and my parents aren't helping me learn more. I've learned more on my own than I ever did in school. So when you say Blaming anyone but the kids is a big mistake, you are 100% wrong. Because most drop-outs are gifted children who go bored. So Ted before you jugde someone else learn more about it. Becaue you don't know until you really face it in your life. I'm guessing you are a adult. If you have children who are gifted ask them if they are bored, they aren't going to tell you if the want to drop-out. But the will tell you if the are bored. And if you don't have any children then don't try and blame us for droping-out. It is partly our fault, but fault also lies on the adults in our lives. Who don't help us to help ourselves.

I dropped out by dropping acid. It was more intellectually stimulating than school. I left high school a year early to attend an 'experimental' college for high school age kids - too little, too late. I barely survived a devastating depression.

But I did survive, and now the schools want to make sure my bright kids have to endure the same hell I did. They didn't allow my kids to start Kindergarten "early" because they missed the NEW birthday cutoff by 3 weeks, despite acheivement scores in the 130's, 140's, and 150's, and recommendations from their preschool teachers that they were READY. I found out that during the process that my K teacher suggested that I skip first grade, but the guidance counselor decided I was too short. Gee, that's worth the price of a mind - BUT NOT MINE, AND NOT MY KIDS!

I WISH UPON ADMINISTRATORS THE SAME HELL THEY INFLICTED ON ME AND WANT TO INFLICT ON MY KIDS.

Their too smart for school
- Cameron Jaxheimer Age 12

Their too smart for school
- Cameron Jaxheimer Age 12

I am looking for a survey for at-risk students dropping out. Do you know of one.

I believe students drop out because the teachers don't care. They will do the lecture, try to keep the kids under control, and then move onto the next class. This year I will be a senior in high school and I have thought of dropping out more than once. I don't want to do it now because, hey I've gotten this far might as well finish. Yet more and more students drop out every day. I think it's because school is like a chore to them. It's not fun or interesting. Of course we all have that one teacher who stands out from the rest, but we need more then one. Students need to look forward to EVERY class. Not just one class and usually that is an elective. If more teachers cared about the students future then everything would be better in the long run.

hi

my comments are that school is boring i go to boze secondary learning center in grand prairie and i love it i used to go to the big high school but for 1 there is to many ignorant kids there who rather start a fight than go to class over a bunch of stupid drama to me its childish and i dont get it but if i did have to go to the regular high school i would drop out because i would be miserable. Teachers dont care anymore and councilers dont do there jobs especially when they have a lot of kids to deal with so my advice is either make more schools like boze or get mor people to divide all the heads there and that would be a start

lock if you want kids to not drop out the thing to do is to have a cool way for kides to lern and just so you now iam a kide in school so i now i am bord out of my mind in some clases and have the time of my life in oters so find a way to make stay alet witot making them bord

a kool add

This all sound good, but do anybody know what factors cause them to finally drop out in the first place. Someone please let me know.

i think people over the age of 109 are very likely to live forever if they consume vast amounts of black tar heroin and meth

well , im actually going to be dropping outt tomorrow.. to be honest , i dont want too. in fact , i feel like such a hypocrite for doing it ! because ever since 9th grade - i swore to myself nd others that i would never drop-out .. but i just cant take it anymore; my school's more like a juvie ! ( well , thats how i feel ] if your not a football player / cheerleader , or just someone in a " club " thann forget it ! your not gonna get recognized , or commented about anything ! your pretty much NOTHING ! in the teachers eyes. i used to go to school every morning nd leave by time 9:30 would come.. cause i just couldn't stand sitting there .. it wasnt that i was bored / tired .. i was mad ! - i felt like i was getting disciplined more than anything ! cause no matter what you did , someone had to yell at you for itt. i never learned anything. i'd go home , nd try to think about anything interested that happend at school , besides the 5 detentions i got nd had to take .. if i didnt i was looking at 2 weeks suspension ! nd nothing ! i couldn't even remember what the teacher taught. nd i PAY ATTENTION ! the teachers were actually more about there personall life than anything. they talked about their daughters , nd sons , their other jobs.. blah blah ! - so yea , i am dropping-out. i cant say im actually proud to say that. but i really do feel like theres something else i have to do ! especially , because i should be graduating this year ! but i cant. because i got credit denial ; for missing a lot of days of school. ( hha - hello , i didnt go ; because i didnt feel like wasting my life away in a tiny ass classroom ] nd the messed up thing is , i dont see how they can hold you back based on your attendence. i mean yea , of course going to school is important ! but if im getting good grades , why worry about it ! i left school last year with credit denial , nd about A's nd B's in every class. nd they couldn't be counted for. nd i stilll actually dont understand why i have credit denial. every day that i missed last year , had a doctors note ! nd they aren't supposed to count that against you .. hah ohh well. i dont know , i think the only thing for me to do - is either try to either get my GED. or ive been thinking about going to " CONNECTIONS ACADEMY " an online school. its free : ) soo im deff thinking about itt. - well , wish me luck for tomorrow !<3 i actually should have went today considering todays the " first day of school for me " but i also have a handycapped sister who needs to be cared for 24/7. nd she goes to school. nd she's been having seizures a lot , so my mom had to go get her. thats another thing about my school - they dont understand that i have a sick sister. who's mentally challenged , nd sometimes i need to stay home with her ! - but thats " not their problem "

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