It’s well known among those of us who work in the field of prevention of drug abuse, that marijuana is 2nd only to tobacco for the “Gateway” effect to other drugs. And now, with the increase in THC in pot, it can no longer be thought of as harmless.
It’s well known that to remain globally competitive in today’s knowledge-based economy, American high schools must improve graduation rates and ensure that graduates have the necessary skills to enter the productive workforce.
High school dropout rates have been a concern for more than two decades, and although some progress has been made, the problem still commands the attention of policy makers at state and federal levels.
In 2007, 16% of individuals ages 16 to 24, or 6.2 million people, were high school dropouts (Center for Labor Market Studies and Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, 2009).
The ten largest public school systems in the U.S. failed to graduate more than 60% of their students (Greene & Winters, 2006), if Obama cared, ….. this could be changed! It’s obvious he doesn’t care.
Among the many dire consequences of failing to graduate from high school is the increased risk for unemployment. In the U.S. today, 3.8 million 18- to 24-year-olds, or 15% of young adults, are neither employed, nor in school (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2004); and 35% of men ages 25 to 54 without a high school diploma are unemployed, up from 10% in the 1960s (Economist, 2011).
With its collective expertise in the fields of substance abuse and educational research and policy, experts at the Institute for Behavior and Health, Inc. (IBH) and the Center on Young Adult Health and Development (CYAHD) at the University of Maryland School of Public Health investigated the connection between adolescent substance use and the risk for dropout in the U.S. During the last year, this group conducted a comprehensive review of the empirical research literature and policy-relevant documents, and consulted with clinicians, educators, and policy makers to gain a better understanding of the dropout crisis—its root causes, consequences, and what strategies are being used to address it. These activities covered a variety of disciplines including education, economics, sociology, psychology, and public health.
The following conclusions were made:
- School dropout is a complex problem, the result of multiple pathways.
- Vast resources are being expended to reduce dropout with little success.
- The social costs of dropout are enormous, ranging from the failure of an individual to reach his or her potential, to the economic consequences of a lower skilled workforce, and dependence on the social welfare system, to a decline in the U.S. position in the global marketplace.
If Obama cared, he could change this, but unfortunately it’s just not where his concern is . . . .