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Old 10-31-2009, 05:30 AM
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ilbegone ilbegone is offline
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Default Education not an expense, speaker tells Riverside County summit

Education not an expense, speaker tells Riverside County summit

October 28, 2009

The Press-Enterprise

California schools are a revenue source, not an expense, educators heard Wednesday during the Riverside County Education Summit at the Riverside Convention Center.

People are responding to California's budget crisis the wrong way, said Douglas Reeves, founder of The Leadership and Learning Center in Colorado, who was the keynote speaker at the conference.

Reducing the number of male high school dropouts can save costs of incarceration and additional medical care, Reeves said. He talked about some ways to keep youths interested in school and increase their achievement.

Riverside County Superintendent of Schools Kenn Young said dropouts cost the state $3.1 billion a year.

California's dropout rate is 18.9 percent, and Riverside County's is 17.3 percent, according to the state Department of Education's Web site. The rate is 22.5 percent in San Bernardino County.

The Education Summit attracted almost 300 educators, including principals and administrators from school district offices. Workshops focused on how to copy the successful programs of schools throughout Riverside County.

"When we withdraw support for things that decrease the dropout rate, it's just as damaging for kids as smoking and corporal punishment," Reeves said.

A lack of interest in school and too many absences are the most common reasons students drop out, followed by poor grades.

Reeves has pushed for changes to grading practices. Teachers are inconsistent giving the same student grades, he said. Averaging grades and giving zeros for missing assignments decrease students' motivation; rather, teachers should help them learn to manage their time, Reeves said. Grades at the end of a term should count more than at the beginning, he said.

Nonfiction writing is a no-cost way teachers can help students learn more in all subjects, Reeves said, especially in science and social studies and for students learning English as a second language.

Students should be encouraged to join extracurricular activities, he said, presenting bar graphs that showed that grade-point averages increase for each additional activity. GPAs rose from an average of 1.9 for students with no extracurricular school activities to 3.5 for students in four activities. Then they fell slightly and fluctuated for five or more activities, as students were overscheduled.

To make up for budget shortfalls, some schools have started charging high activity fees for sports and other extracurricular programs, which exclude all but the wealthiest students, Reeves said. Or students are cut from teams if their grades fall below a C.

"We ought to be saying, 'If you're flunking math, welcome to the basketball team. We've got a seat at the study table for you,' " Reeves said.

Students in extracurricular activities put positive pressure on each other, he said. They want their teammates to show up for practice. Drama club members, for instance, tell missing classmates they couldn't rehearse a scene the day before because they weren't there.
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Old 11-03-2009, 04:18 AM is offline
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That assertion has almost no bearing on reality at most public schools in Los Angeles. The author of that remark needs to be given quick tours of the Santee Learning Center and Panorama High School - multimillion dollar facilities that had to be built for the purpose of serving the offspring of the excess, unwanted population that arrived here from Latin America.

Needless to say, both institutions have abysmal graduation rates, even by LAUSD standards, and it is considered challenging even to get to and from school safely in the surrounding neighborhoods.

Dude, they are an expense, a considerable one in fact, when they are mostly wearhousing future single parents, convicts, welfare recipients and menial workers.
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