Albany's graduation rate inched no more than a percent to only reach near 54 percent as the drop out rate remains high at 20 percent.
Education Commissioner John King said that one in four students still aren't graduating after four years. King also said too many students are graduating without the advanced courses deemed necessary for college-level work or a good job. Students are barely just receiving “local” diplomas.
The problem seems to be cities with higher concentration of students living in poverty, including ethnic minority students. Timothy Kremer, State School Boards Association executive director, recognized persistent achievement gaps based on race and ethnicity, as well as school district wealth.
Could this be a result of lack of effort to achieve due to the safety net of welfare programs? Considering the cities host the most recipients of social programs, assistance, and entitlements, students have no other model than what they know from the environment they are brought up in. Many residents in the city expect the same social assistance their families have received for generations. Therefore they know their effort to live a “better life” is not necessary when the government is there to hand out entitlement because of conditions.
A child of a family living on welfare programs is very likely to follow the same pattern. And because of the mindset, they do not care about furthering themselves, only about surviving. One gentleman in Albany told about how his family enrolled him for disability entitlements because they live in poverty, and he received housing every month along with a check. He was grateful that the free time allows him leisure to roam on the street to do what he wants. We had no desire to improve himself for fear of losing those benefits.
And if teens and young adults are on the streets, they become bored and are more likely to get into trouble. Idleness leads to desperate situations. Their self worth is diminished because of their lack of merit. Proverbs 10:4 advise that the diligent will be rich and the lazy will be poor. Proverbs 20:4 tells that the sluggard who does not plow in the autumn will seek at harvest and have nothing. Proverbs 19:15 says that slothfulness casts into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger. And 2Thessalonians 3:10 warns that if anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
Parents need to be more engaged as well. But how do we encourage that? The Joe Louis Clark method would land someone in jail today. Parents need to be more involved in their child's life. To encourage them to achieve and strive for more.
But the problem could also be class size. Residents report some classes having thirty students, with less than enthusiastic teachers who cannot control their classrooms. Discipline is frowned upon as teachers cannot single out students who misbehave or will face penalties. If revenue is the case, then money collected for education should be directed towards hiring more teachers and limiting class sizes and not to administrators already receiving more than generous salaries. Budgets need to be budgets not wish lists. The district needs to exercise responsibility and restraint in allocating for what is necessary to improve the education and not pouring into renovation projects and higher administrator salaries.