Poverty and Graduation Rates
|Above table captured from "Why are some Filipino children not in school?"|
|Downloaded from "Profile of Out-of-School Children in the Philippines"|
The problematic states in the above map are pink in color. These are states where the high school graduation rates for non low-income students are still below 80%. Quite a number of states have already reached 90% graduation rates for children who are not experiencing poverty. Massachusetts, for example, has 94%. The situation is dramatically different for poor children:
Only a third or less of students with disabilities in Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada are able to finish high school. Are the government programs in the United States not working? The programs mentioned above do have a positive effect on poor school children and those with special needs. The problem lies in a shift in emphasis on education reforms. The report, Poverty and Education: Finding the Way Forward, points out the following:
The above programs can work but these need to be implemented seriously with great commitment. Lip service is not enough especially when the government spends much more effort on curriculum reforms and antagonizing teachers. Programs that do not address poverty directly can in fact do harm. One can see that the list of programs that do not help address the problem of poverty in schools matches a lot of the effort that the Department of Education in the Philippines does (Its focus on K+12, performance-based bonuses, and private school vouchers). The Philippines does learn from the United States. The problem is that the country unfortunately copies only what is wrong.