Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Research Paper on School

Research Paper on School

Dropout rates are increasing because of the increase in population. On an up to date research accomplished by Thomas DeLeire and Ariel Kalil related to dropout rates in America, they used enrollment and graduation data from school records to obtain the following results. "The ratio of high school graduates to grade nine enrollment three years earlier in California has consistently hovered around 0.69-0.74 throughout the last half of the 1990s, suggesting a four-year dropout rate of about 25-30 percent (DeLeire and Kalil 403).

Population in California is increasing, and so are the numbers of academic achievements as well as the academic failures. On recent studies by Phillip Kaufman, et al, they performed a statistical analysis that shows the percentage of students who drop-out before completing a high school program. They used data from The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), which obtains its information of education in the United States by collecting records from all the school districts. Dropout rates in this report shows that, "In October 2000, 5 out of every 100 young adults who were enrolled in high school in October 1999 were no longer in school and had not successfully completed a high school program"(Kaufman, et al 3). 488,000 students didn't complete high school, which accounts to an extremely large number of students. The results of this study show the percentage of students dropping out is decreasing, however, the actual number of students dropping out has increased. This is due to the increase in students attending school, which explains the fact that there are more students graduating, but also more students dropping out from school.


The dropout rate for K-12 students also varies depending on their race and location of the school. There are four major races attending K-12 schools in America: Asian, Black, Hispanic, and White. Nevertheless, not all have the same percentage of dropouts. A study completed by Bryan W. Griffin concerning dropouts, used data provided by The Florida Department of Education in order to accomplish his research. The data was obtained by a random sample of 132,903 high school students from fourteen school districts in Florida, and obtained the following: "The dropout rate was highest for Blacks, closely followed by Hispanics, then Whites, and then Asians, who showed the lowest rate" (Griffin 76). The high rate of blacks dropping out, as well as Hispanics, is because they both account for a large portion of the population in Florida. In states like Kansas, the dropout rate is higher for whites, because the population is mostly white. Another example is North Carolina, where the population is mostly Whites and Blacks, only one out of every other high school student is expected to graduate, and logically, the percentage of dropouts there is higher with Blacks and Whites. Another section of the research by Kaufman et al, he obtains these results: "Close to one-third of the 16- through 24-year-old Hispanics [Latinos] in the United States were reported as out of school and lacking a high school credential" (Kaufman, et al 11). Hispanics have the highest overall dropout rate in the US. About 1,456,000 Latinos have not graduated, which means that they had to have found a low paying job and settle for whatever they could get.

Students drop out from schools K-12 because of premature sex. On current research by Kathleen Mullan Harris, Greg J. Duncan, and Johanne Boisjoly relating students' risk taking behavior, and why they engage in those activities. They obtained their data by giving out surveys to the students in which they were asked what kind of family structure they belonged to, and if they were sexually active; they obtained the following results. "Risks of first sex are 77% higher for boys living in step families and 62% higher for boys in single-parent or non-parent family structures" (Harris 1023). Today's society accounts for fifty percent of marriages resulting in a divorce, and a tremendously small percentage of students who don't have either biological parent. However, these two types of family structures make up the majority of families in U.S., thus making the percentage results from the research account for a great number of the population. The children see their parent as role models, and believe that having premature sex is ok, because if it doesn't workout they can always get a divorce. Also, they believe that their parents or grandparents can take care of their child if they are to become pregnant and eventually dropout. In a study about sexual behavior and its causes by Lisa D. Lieberman et al., they handed surveys, made one-on-one interviews, and mailed surveys to 527 participants, and checked back a year after for a follow-up. In the surveys and interviews, the authors asked the participants many questions concerning their thoughts about sex, if they were sexually active, and their relationship with parents. "Poor self-concept is associated with earlier onset of sexual activity for both male and female adolescents" (Lieberman et al 2). Early sexual activity for both genders causes many problems, especially for the female. Eighty percent of the time teenagers have sex for the first time it is unprotected, which in many cases the female becomes pregnant. A female pregnant is very likely to drop out from high school, because she will have morning sickness often, appointments with the doctor, embarrassed to go to school, etc", and eventually dropout because it was too much for her. In addition, the younger they begin having sex the more partners they will have in the future, and in case of a disease, the more people that will catch the infection.

Students' dropout rate is also caused by the income status of the family. James W. Ainsworth completed an important research on dropouts in 1999, which shows the relation between high school dropouts and the economic status of the neighborhood location. He used data from the National Center of Educational Statistics, which consisted of one thousand middle schools and twenty-five random students' surveys from each school. "Rates in severely distressed neighborhoods are more than three times as higher as those in non-poverty neighborhoods and that the jobless rates for young high school dropouts in distressed urban neighborhoods are often over 80%" (Ainsworth 118). Low income neighborhoods are not the best place to live; they hold many unhealthy behaviors in its atmosphere. Families in poverty live in low income neighborhoods, that is a fact. Students growing up in this environment pick up behaviors that will affect their lives, like drugs, gangs, bad influences, etc.... At this point, they loose track of school and in the process lose interest in it too; eventually they drop out of high school and look for a job to pay for their drugs and alcohol. On a more recent research made in 2000 by the National Center for Education Statistics, Phillip Kaufman, et al, obtained data that reports the high school dropouts and graduation rates. They attained this data by collecting information from all the school districts. "In 2000, young adults living in families with incomes in the lowest 20 percent of all family incomes were six times as likely as their peers from families in the top 20 percent of the income distribution to drop out of high school" (Kaufman et al 7). Students from low income families are usually more stressed about money, and their family's status. In many cases, the sons and daughters need to help the family to obtain money, and find a job themselves. They work for long hours and tend to be sleepy or distracted during school hours. This jeopardizes the student's interest in school, because now they are obtaining money so they feel that they don't need the education, and eventually dropout. The money they are obtaining maybe enough to support them now; however, it will not be enough once they become a parent.

The type of neighborhood in which the school is located also causes an effect on the dropout rate. Many studies about exclusionary behavior have been completed. On a recent study made by Theresa A. Thorkildsen and Deborah Reese concerning exclusionary behavior and its effects on high school students, they concluded that exclusion does in fact affect students. They used a scale to obtain a canonical correlation result. The result had to be .30 or higher in order for it to be valid. "Safety-focused ecology, emerged with a canonical correlation of .32... this ecology involves adolescents' willingness to attend college and their feelings that their school attendance and social and academic success were affected by exclusionary behavior... types of exclusion that raise safety issues because they can promote bodily harm" (Thorkildsen 36). This type of environment is mostly seen in lower economic developed neighborhoods, because they have less money for their education system. Having less money in school, means they don't have enough money to hire qualified teachers, security, after school programs, etc.... Students that feel threaten in school or in their homes, tend to worry about it and focus on protecting themselves instead of focusing in school. Unfortunately, in many cases the students focus on protecting themselves so much, which causes them to dropout from school either because of fear or lack of interest. In the results from "Why Does it Take a Village?" Ainsworth quotes: "The number of high-status residents in a student's neighborhood was the second-strongest predictor of educational achievement (b = .076), superseding the importance of attending a private school (b = .026), low teacher quality (b = .044), number of siblings (b = .046), and sex (i.e., being female) (b = .044)" (Ainsworth 131). Neighborhoods which contain positive environments will encourage students living there to achieve their goals. Having prominent residents in the neighborhood, serves as role models for the students, because they will look up to them and will want to be in their status position. Students in return will work harder in school, in order to achieve a higher status and be in the same level as those residents.

One solution to reduce dropouts from K-12 grades is involving the parents in their child's school activities. In the article "Cornell and Bronk Schools Join With Parents to Reduce Dropouts" by Rosaleen Mazur and Lisa Thureau, the authors suggests a solution that may help reduce the dropout rate. The solution is called The Stay In School Partnership Project, where the key for students' success is the parents. The approach of this project is to get parents involved in their children's school activities by making the parents responsible for children's attendance, meaning that if their child is not at school, it is the parents fault. Further more, parents are also responsible for helping them with their school work, and answering any questions that they might have. This project provides parents with in-home activities and workbooks, in which parent and child must work together in order to understand the material as well as answer the question. Parents are responsible of making school interesting for their children; otherwise, the child will be at a high risk of dropping out.

Though Mazur and Thureau proposed excellent solutions in his article, The Stay In School Partnership Project will still help some students, but it will help the amount of students as expected. This solution, which makes parents responsible for their childrenŠƒfs attendance in school and their performance will not work, because parents are too busy working or engaged in other activities in which they must participate to help the family. In an article by James A. Shymansky called "Empowering Families In Hands-on Science Programs", the author researched working parents and its relation to students academic achievements. Shymansky came to the conclusion that "Barriers to effective parental involvement are time, lack of understanding of the academic decision-making process, perceived lack of interest by parents, feeling of disconnection, lack of training, inability to speak the dominant language, and lack of success" (Shymansky 3). Parents are just too busy with their own activities to help the family's status, that in many cases they forget, or are too tired to get involved in their children's school activities. Parents most of the time only have time to take them to school, and trust their children will go in and stay there, but the reality is that many skip school. When the school's office calls to inform the parents of their child's absence, usually nobody is home, and find them selves leaving a message on the answer machine, a message the child will erase to hide his secret. Parents cannot be reliable for their children's actions outside of the school during school hours, because if they are responsible enough to skip school they should be responsible enough to accept the consequences it might bring.

Though many proposals to reduce dropouts have been implemented, and many of them have not worked, there are some that will help. In the article "Helping Dreams Survive: Dropout Interventions" by Fred C. Lunenburg, the author summarizes studies completed by researchers concerning dropouts and its preventions. Lunenburg, based on the research he collected and his own findings, suggests four solutions that may help decrease the percentage of dropouts from K-12 schools. One is Community-Based Organization (CBO), in which the schools and its communities come together as a group and create events for the students to enjoy themselves. Second is Case Management Intervention (CMI), where students with a higher risk of dropping out receive more attention from teachers, so they can communicate their problems. The next solution is School-Within-A-School. Here, teachers come together and discuss subjects that can improve student's academic achievement, like better spending of the budget, curriculum plans, in-house discipline, and enrichment activities. Lastly, Lunenburg proposes a solution that he calls Negative-Sanction Policies. What this solutions does, it punishes students under the age but taking something away that is valuable to them if they are to dropout. He uses a particular example where in West Virginia, minor students' driving license is taken away if they dropout. The author comes to the conclusion that if the solutions suggested are to be implemented, not only will dropout rates decline, but unemployment and welfare rates will decrease significantly as well.

The solution proposed is effective and will help reduce dropouts. This method has been used before in different situation, and the results prove it works. James Laverett completed a research paper on SingaporeŠƒfs environment. He researched, among other topics, their laws, pollution, and their measures taken to obtain a clean environment. Leverett found that negative sanctions are common in Singapore. "Huge fines for littering, smoking indoors, not flushing the toilet, and chewing imported gum" (Leverett 71). There are many different negative sanctions, like yelling at someone that is annoying, hitting someone if they don't obey the rules, or in this case paying a fine for not obeying the law. Not too many people in Singapore have extra money they can spear on littering fines, so they must behave. These laws push them to keep their country clean and be more cautious about their trash. On a recent study on a two high school in Australia, which account for an approximate of 1,750 students, the schools used a negative sanction to eliminate littering in the school. They placed many visual prompts all over the school. They also verbally mentioned to the students, that if they are to be cough littering, instead of receiving a fine, they will receive detention. "What was successful in their experiments, was issuing verbal instructions to place litter in litter bags" (Houghton 1). The majority of the students don't want to stay after school when they can be outside with their friends. This sanction disciplines student by teaching them that punishment will be given if they break the law. In relation to dropout, it teaches them if they are to dropout they will receive some type of punishment, thus pushing them to stay in school.

A more common use of negative sanction is the parent and child rules and punishment. Restricting activities or objects from people tend to have an impact in their lives. In most cases, these objects or activities are restricted to teach discipline to the person. In a recent study by Sandra D. Simpkins and Ross D. Parke concerning children's behavior when restrictions are implemented, the authors surveyed eighty eight children from different schools and their parents as well. Parents had to answer questions about changes in their children's attitude and behavior after restrictions were applied. The children had to answer questions of how they feel when their parents set rules, and punish them if they are to break any of the rules. When the surveys were collected and studied, researchers discovered the following. "The numbers of restriction rules and supervision rules were significantly correlated for the entire sample (r = .27, p < .01)" (Simpkins and Parke 363). In order for the results to be valid, they had to exceed a correlation score of .20. The overall result evidently surpasses the score expected. With this result, they were able to obtain a statistical result that show evident changes in the behaviors of children when rules are set, and punishment given if they are to break any of those rules. The authors observed and interviewed the children and their parents a year after the surveys were collected and results were obtained. The interviews consisted of the same questions from the surveys. After both the interviews and observation was completed, they were able to compare both the previous statistics and the interviews, obtained the same results. "Findings revealed that a higher number of restrictions was [sic] linked to fewer problem behaviors and higher social involvement with peers" (Simpkins and Parke 369). When children are told they will be punished if they are to break any of the rules enforced, they fear and follow what they are told. This is a very common way to discipline children, because it teaches them to respect what they are told as well as the law.

In a more serious matter, restrictions also have been proposed in the government level. Henry A. Giroux conducted a research, in which data from crime rates and previous president's efforts to lower crime was used to obtain an actual result. "Following the mandatory sentencing legislation and get-tough policies associated with the "war on drugs' declared by the Reagan and Bush administrations, this bill calls for a "three strikes and you're out of policy, which puts repeat offenders, including nonviolent offenders, in jail for life, regardless of the seriousness of the crime" (Giroux 75). The government is responsible for keeping peace inside the country, thus making them responsible of creating laws that will help. They must also enforce these types of laws in order to help reduce crime. By having these laws for delinquents, they will think twice about making a crime, because they know that if they commit such crime, they'll go to jail for a long time. "Yet, even as the crime rate plummets dramatically, more colored people are being arrested, harassed, punished, and put in jail" (75). Crime is decreasing all over the country due to the many legislations that have been passed by presidents and head chiefs of state. Crime will continue to drop as long as these types of laws keep being accepted by the public.

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