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America's Promise and Dropout Prevention Conferences

By Profesor Martin Danenberg “El Quijote del GED” - An important part of my Dropout Prevention plan is providing students who are about to drop out of school (1.2 million nationally approximately and the numbers have been around 20-21,000 in New York City alone each year and that city has between 140,000-200,000 disconnected youth) an educational assessment.

That assessment is the Official Practice Test (GED) which, as an analytical tool, shows us the weaknesses of our youth on the basics they should know.  We know that about half of youth in high school are weak on the basics.  You can refer to the American Council on Education for more information and see how the real GED test is constructed for the United States. This plan should effectively reduce the dropout rate, help double GED diplomas among adults, and reduce taxes in every state of the United States.

Here are the key points of my plan. - Let us bring each student back to school for this assessment, some instruction, and counseling.  Counseling alone is ok, but the assessment and instruction will be much more convincing or much stronger than counseling alone.

Students who easily pass the Official Practice Test and who with their parents consent or without it (if they do not need consent) decide to go take the GED will be prepared with the knowledge to take the GED immediately.  The average of age of those who take the GED annually is around 24 years of ago and a huge percentage of people have delayed taking the test for years or decades.  This long delay must stop if the United States is going to compete in a global economy effectively and if the American people are really committed to family values associated with education.

Here is a bonus to this simple plan of action. - This simple plan will spark awareness that parents and other members of communities have a quick way to progress and change their lives through the same assessment.  Parents that have never graduated from high school or earned a GED will be shown how simple success can really be through the Official Practice Test.  When parents and children are committed to this kind of success, parental involvement in the school should increase, achieving what educators say is often lacking in failing schools.

Economic development of areas that are depressed can take place as more adults in communities get into the educational loop again.  Every state has its depressed areas.  People who walk those streets need a diploma and the expansion of the Official Practice Test program and its success to everyone will improve neighborhoods and schools.  This could be done in all Title 1 schools and with funds that are already in place.

I will be doing a Dropout Prevention Conference on September 15, 2008 in Bay Shore, New York.  America’s Promise will be doing 50 or more Dropout Prevention Conferences in major cities across the United States.

Let me share what is probably the best of the statements that I have read about organizing the Dropout Prevention Conferences.  In my opinion, the Massachusetts team has come up with a plan that the others states and cities do not have and I believe that Massachusetts is on the right road to success.  Its statement speaks for itself and here is that statement.

Summit Planning Team:  More defined team is still to be determined, but will include members of the Cross-Agency Working Group will include representatives from: the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, the Executive Office of Public Safety, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, and the state’s Information Technology Division.  In addition, senior staff representatives from the Committee on Public Council Services, the Department of Early Education and Care, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and the Department of Higher Education and the Department of Education will also be tapped.

I want to thank Massachusetts for this statement.  I want to thank some of the people in the others states for their efforts in pushing for expanded GED programs and greater success through the GED for all adults and for recognizing that the problem is a community problem and not just something for the school to battle.  Getting our nations youth who do not return to high school a GED can save taxpayers tens of billions of dollars.

An administrators of a future conference told me that an exit interview is a requirement in that state (which I discussed in a meeting with the governor’s assistant and others back in 2002 in the capital of that state) and another administrator told me that the dropout rate is most among minorities (Hispanics entering that state and other states, people who need additional resources to help them and their parents accelerate in their acquisition of English) in order to graduate from high school.

MY PLAN IS REAL DROPOUT PREVENTION FOR THE 1.2 MILLION YOUTH WHO DO DROP OUT OF SCHOOL.  WHAT OTHERS CALL DROPOUT PREVENTION IS NOT REALLY DROPOUT PREVENTION AT ALL

I gave this assessment to my thirteen year old nephew years ago and we found and corrected errors that he was making in reading, writing, and math.  His parents agreed to the assessment and loved the fact that his errors were corrected.  I do not call that dropout prevention.  That is simply remediation.

I was informed by one state administrator that America’s Promise supports raising the compulsory education laws, which have been around since 1916 and even the compulsory 18 years of age has not been effective in some states and it probably conflicts with GED regulations in those states.  See my article Senator Sabini and Bill S3549 and the GED.

Another concern that I have is that Puerto Rico is not on the list and I wonder if Puerto Rico is being lined up to participate.  Puerto Ricans are and have been citizens of the United States and I am sure that Colin Powell knows the great contributions made by Puerto Ricans in fighting for freedom since World War I and that 20,000 Puerto Ricans were drafted during World War I.

IT HAS BEEN REPORTED TO ME THAT SCHOOL CONDENSATION IS CAUSING AN INCREASE IN DROPOUTS AMONG RURAL YOUTH WHO DO NOT WANT TO BE BUSED INTO SCHOOLS FAR FROM HOME.  THESE AREAS NEED GED TESTING CENTERS.  THE FAILURE TO OPEN GED TESTING SITES IN RURAL AREAS WILL ONLY HOLD PEOPLE BACK FOR ANOTHER DECADE OR MORE AND WE WILL REPEAT THE MISTAKES OF THE PAST.  WE MUST TREAT RURAL AREAS AS FAIRLY AS WE TREAT URBAN AND SUBURBAN AREAS OF EACH STATE.  WE ARE ALL AMERICANS.  PEOPLE WHO ARE PAYING HIGH TAXES OR HIGHER TAXES WANT TO REDUCE THE COST OF PAYING FOR SOCIAL SERVICE PROGRAMS THAT HIT THE POCKET BOOK AND MOBILIZING PEOPLE TO TAKE THE GED IN EVERY STATE WILL REDUCE TAXES FOR DECADES TO COME.

MARTIN N. DANENBERG
ISLANDIA, NEW YORK 11749
631-348-1341
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