Surviving the System
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Many times when we hear "the system," a reference is being made to incarceration. However, everything in our society is made up of systems. The better we understand this, the better we can identify systems, and the better we can prepare our children for survival.
System: Any set of established standards (processes) that produce a distinguishable outcome.
Here's the thing you must know about systems: You must position yourself to benefit from them! Else, you will likely become a victim of them. The education system is no exception. Many children honestly just don’t have a fair shot at success. They enter the system under-prepared and never catch up! There have been numerous studies to validate this reality. Bottom line, it is happening and is evident by the millions that have fallen through the cracks right into poverty, incarceration, drugs, and the many other unfavorable outcomes that become statistics:
30 years ago, America was the leader in quantity and quality of high school diplomas. Today, our nation is ranked 36th in the world!
A 3rd grade student who reads at the appropriate reading level compared to a 3rd grade student who does not is 4 times more likely to graduate by age 19.
A student living in poverty is 13 times less likely to graduate on time.
Only 1 in 4 high school students graduate college-ready in the 4 core subjects of English, Reading, Math and Science.
In the workplace, 85% of current jobs and 90% of new jobs require some or more college or post-secondary education.
(See www.dosomething.org for references.)
Simply considering the above, we can easily draw this conclusion: America's educational system in general has some severe defects. In order for our children to "survive" the education system they must be taught how it works and be guided in how to position themselves for success. As of now, they are simply thrown into schools and asked to comply with rules and procedures that don't feel relevant and, many times, feel totally contrary to who they are as individuals. We must do a better job of showing them the benefits of school by helping them better understand pitfalls and preventative measures.
Derek J. Lovett
Educator & Youth Development Specialist