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New? Improved? School?

Let's give the kids free cell phones, and when they actually SHOW UP for school, they get some minutes on their phones. They will be the targets of the newest marketing campaign that proves that "school is cool." They'll receive messages on their phones from celebrities (recordings, of course) about how important school is. This program is coming to New York City schools soon and it's going to be magically funded by celebrities and donations. No, really. They're counting on this money falling out of the sky.

The students, seeing a good deal for them, would be less likely to drop out. The LA district spent over $200,000 on its own ad program in the hopes of keeping these children in school. It featured hip-hop ads and billboards with poor spelling ("Did u know..."). The lofty goal? Reduce the dropout rate from 25% to 20%. Keep up the good numbers like that, and I'll have to pack my bags and move out there! (Not.)

http://www.newsweek.com/id/72295/page/1

Maybe this is mean of me, but I can't say I blame children in the inner-city from dropping out or whatever. If they were to somehow stick it out in their violence-ridden schools, what jobs are out there for them? Do they have a clue how to apply for college, or which college would be for them? The ad campaign says that high school graduates earn an average of $175 more per week than dropouts. Yeah, right. Is that because most of the high school graduates went on to a four-year college and the dropouts are on welfare and don't have to work at all? I mean, where do these statistics come from? (Um, maybe you'd better not tell me.)

I think most students are smarter than we give them credit for. They want to know that the 40 hours or so a week they spend in school, plus homework time, is in their best interest. Is it going to be worth it to get this degree, or should I be a dishwasher at Denny's and at least have some spending money? Are there companies who readily hire high school graduates in that district? I mean at a decent wage. That would be so much more helpful to the students than a stupid cell phone. I suppose these districts should get some credit for trying to help students remain in school. But it is, after all, in their best financial interest anyway.

I tried checking out the Teenage Liberation Handbook for Patrick. It's all about how to quit school and develop YOUR OWN course of study. You know, free your brain so that all the "input" isn't just what "they" want you to know. Of course, if you want to go to a four-year college there are certain things you need to know, but beyond that, you could study whatever interests you. Be free from the school district AND your parents! But Patrick read a few pages and said, well, he's not motivated enough to do all that work. And he isn't paranoid about the government influences on his brain like I am. And no, he's NOT scared to go to school even though all the other children are 8 feet tall and 900 pounds, and wear black T-shirts featuring Marilyn Manson. What you do with people like that is, you act like you think they're big and bad and they leave you alone.

OK, Patrick. I love you. You're the sort of student that would save the district a lot of money on cell phones LOL!

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But it's a LOT of work.

You get about a ton of worksheets that must be done by a certain time. Usually on a day when you're sick or have no time. You get the phone calls about this or that, and about a zillion sheets per day that sometimes contain important news, so you MUST go through them daily. The schools also *love* to throw in half days, teacher in-service days and early dismissals. Not so bad, unless you have children at more than one school and the schedu…