Tuesday, December 29, 2009

American Schools Drop Out Factories: Cultivating Character, Achievement and Security

On a recent edition of Meet the Press, the Secretary of Education referred to American Schools as drop out factories since over 1.2 million students drop out each year, including a 50% drop-out rate in Washington, DC schools. The convergence of an economic crisis along with an education and academic crisis has lead to a call for the Department of Education to be an engine of innovation.

Also highlighted was the need for teachers to be held accountable through student achievement results and the need for a breakthrough in education.

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As an educator who has been privileged to be in various roles since 1976, it is my opinion that a culture of academic achievement must have the pillars of character education and a preventive system of education as its foundation. The national academic crisis is compounded by a crisis of character, indicated by continuous scandals through every element of society and a culture of violence, expressed through coast to coast headlines of unconscionable crimes. America must get back on track through its schools and character education and the preventive system of education must fuel the engine of transformation.

Academic achievement, character education and educators who inspire and motivate must have schools that are protected from disruptions to the educational process. The U.S. Department of Education's latest study, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2009, presents sobering insights of crime in American schools including violent deaths, victimization, bullying, fear and avoidance, fights, weapons and illegal substances. This study should be required reading for those dedicated to school safety and security. More importantly, it should remind us that our schools must be safe havens where academic excellence, character development and motivating teachers flourish.

Character education is critical since it allows a person, family, classroom, school, district and the nation itself to have its moral compass aligned. The preventive system cultivates altruism at its core and educators are inspired to motivate their students by teaching from a heart that expresses kindness, reasonableness and character.

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