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How to Reduce the Dropout Rate in College

How to Reduce the Dropout Rate in College

California State University Fullerton in Fullerton, Calif., on March 8, 2023. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

Christian Milord

Christian Milord

8/22/2023

Updated: 12/21/2023

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Commentary
Summer is almost over, and students are returning to school to acquire more knowledge and socialize with friends. However, Californians ought to be disappointed with the quality of public education in the state, because not too many years ago it was on a better footing. Articles in a number of media outlets have anguished over the college and high school dropout rates in our public institutions.
Only 84 percent of students graduate high school in California, according to the Department of Education.
According to California State University (CSU), only 35 percent of first-year university students graduate with a bachelor’s degree within four years. By six years, 62 percent of those students have graduated.
In a recent Orange County Register news piece, interviewees such as Deborah Santiago of Exelencia in Education, and Jose Barrera from the California League of United Latin American Citizens were concerned over the Hispanic dropout rates in college. Yet they failed to scrutinize the core reasons why this dropout rate exists by falling into the “diversity, equity, and inclusion” trap. They seem to favor special treatment for minorities at the expense of motivated students who don’t embrace an unearned entitlement mentality.
“Latino students were overall more likely to drop out of school when compared with their White peers,” according to the news outlet. “In California, just 22% of Latino adults age 25 and up earned an associate degree or higher, versus 56% of White, non-Hispanic adults.”
Are there any credible solutions to this education downturn? Many methods have been utilized to tackle this problem but with minimal results. There likely are multiple reasons why students drop out of the educational process. Some students lose interest, or they opt to get a job, or they have a child when they are young, and so on. Sometimes an occupation pushes the education priority to the back-burner.
In order to reduce the dropout rate at all levels, it’s important to start in the home. Education begins in the home, and its importance varies from family to family. Do the parents value education by providing reading material in the home? Are they involved in the schools their children attend, and do they attend school board meetings? Do they read to their children and make sure they complete their homework? Do they monitor the progress of their youngsters? Are there accessible libraries in their communities?
These are important questions to ask regarding academic failure or success in Grades K-12. Currently, students who graduate from a charter, private, or religious school have a much better chance of succeeding in university due to the quality of education they received. If they graduate from a public school, they might have fifty-fifty odds that they will have the stamina to persevere all the way through to a bachelor’s degree.
The odds for public school graduates would rise if the schools would implement rigorous standards instead of surrendering to pendulum shifts and flashy trends that dilute courses and disrupt the continuity of excellence. There has been a shift toward the excessive use of technology in schools instead of good old-fashioned critical thinking, note taking, reading, research, and writing.
So-called “big ideas” in Math and Science have often replaced the well-constructed factual details that form equations and solutions. Math and Science demand tough calculations in order to work up to the larger picture.
Currently, around 30 percent of students who enroll in the CSU system need remediation classes, and 80 percent of community college students require remediation. This is a stunning reality that renders the “Career and College Ready” mantra nearly meaningless. Indeed, not all students are cut out for the university route. Many students are better suited for the armed forces or noble trade careers, yet they are pushed to pursue the college track. Perhaps this compounds the university dropout rates.
If so many first-year students or Junior College transfer students enter the CSU system unprepared, how will they fare when the courses get tougher, and they have to juggle academics and part-time jobs? Indeed, how will they cope with real-world values such as discipline, focus, reliability, responsibility, and work habits?
What are some solutions to the dropout rate in higher education? First, education begins at home and then branches out into society. If parents have a stake in education and monitor their children’s behavior and progress, future success isn’t guaranteed but it’s more likely to occur. By the time students graduate from high school, they are better prepared to enter post-secondary institutions.
Next, Marxist (woke) tribal groupings that fixate on color, gender, and race ought to be discarded in favor of assessing students based on character, merit, and skills. Watering down education through grade inflation and social promotion should be eliminated to establish a healthy work ethic in all students regardless of background. This can build confidence and a sense of actual achievement. Absorbing the fact that success must be earned goes a long way in nurturing tangible and intangible character traits and civic virtues.
Finally, it’s also crucial to inform students regarding the great traditions of competition, responsible liberty, the rule of law, and other American principles. Combining academics with extracurricular activities can broaden student horizons and hone leadership skills that contribute to society. Success in college and beyond begins at a young age when children start to develop comprehensive human attributes that are refined as they mature.
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Christian Milord

Christian Milord

Author

Christian Milord is an Orange County, California-based educator, mentor, USCG veteran, and writer. He earned his M.S. degree from California State University, Fullerton, where he mentors student groups and is involved with literacy programs. His interests include culture, economics, education, domestic and foreign policy, and military issues. He can be reached at cnvmilord@sbcglobal.net

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