Monday, August 15, 2016


By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown & Laura Schisler, August 15, 2016

It was the first day of school.  Approximately 500 students all met at the school’s auditorium where the new Principal was waiting for them to be seated and quiet down.  He put both arms in the air to signify that he would like quiet as he was about to address the student body and faculty on the first day of school.

All was going well as he presented his first official new semester welcoming message when suddenly a student stood up and walked out of the room.  Undeterred the principal continued.  Then just as quickly a second student stood up and walked out the rear of the auditorium and he was followed by a third and then a fourth.  In all about 10 students stood up and walked out on the Principal’s welcoming message.  He feared he had bought into something far more serious than his initial joy of becoming the new principal should have been for him.  The 10 students all left about 30 seconds apart from one another as if their departure had been orchestrated by some fringe group to demonstrate their dislike for the school, the school year, the student body, the faculty or worse the new Principal.

There was a buzz amongst the remaining students who were all trying to figure out what just happened.  The Principal was about 5 minutes into his welcome when this all occurred; it did not look good.  Then just as suddenly each one of the ten students began to emerge on stage and form a line behind the Principal as he continued to speak, there were 9 students by actual count.  What happened to the 10th student?  As the Principal turned to face the 9, the 10th student appeared stage right but this student was wearing an orange jumpsuit one exactly like you might see on a prisoner at the local jail.  What on earth was happening?

The principal, with 10 students standing tall behind him turned and faced the student body who by this time were all pretty much in shock over what just happened.  “Class,” he said.  “What you have just witnessed is precisely what is happening in high schools all across America TODAY!  Just as these students left the auditorium every 26 seconds, you, or you, or you, or someone you know in this class will drop out of high school, 1 every 26 seconds!  Don’t let that student be you!  Do you hear what I am saying?  DON’T LET THAT STUDENT BE YOU!  It is so important that if you become aware that a fellow student or friend is considering dropping out of high school, please notify the school’s counselor as soon as possible.”

“You see ten students standing behind me, 9 of whom all look like your typical high school student.  But there is one who is dressed in a prison orange jumpsuit because according to recent studies, 1 out of every 10 high school students that drop out of high school will eventually be in jail or prison.  1 OUT OF 10!  DON’T LET THAT 1 BE YOU!  Did you hear what I just said?  DON’T LET THAT 1 BE YOU OR SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU!  1 every 26 seconds equals 1.2 MILLION students dropping out of high school EVERY YEAR!  Using quick math in my head if 1 out of every 10 end up in jail or prison, that means that 120,000 high school dropouts will be calling jail HOME in the very near future.  DON’T LET THAT BE YOU!  In this class of 500 students, 10 percent equals 50 of your classmates who could be in jail.  DON’T LET ONE OF THEM BE YOU!”

“There are 4 words that I NEVER want to say to anyone, especially a parent or friend of a student who drops out and they are I TOLD YOU SO!  If you read the study, a high school dropout will earn $200,000 LESS than a high school graduate over his lifetime. And almost a million dollars less than a college graduate!

“I sincerely want nothing but the best for each and every one of you.  More importantly we now have 500 students in this class and when it comes time to graduate I personally want to hand out 500 graduation diplomas to each and every one of you; WITH NO EXCEPTIONS.  Is that understood?  If so, let’s get started…”

I only wish that every Principal would start every school year with a start like this one.  Students need a wakeup call.  When I see the youth of America rioting in the streets, disrespecting civil authority, burning buildings and cars all in the name of what?  Most of the time they do these things BEFORE an investigation reveals that the person being arrested was resisting arrest and had a weapon or not; as if it would make any difference to the people rioting in the streets of our cities.  It makes no sense.  Have you ever noticed that when a criminal is arrested the news NEVER comments on whether a gun used in the crime was legally owned or illegally owned?  They NEVER comment on whether the criminal graduated from high school.  They NEVER comment on whether the criminal had a job.    Do you think a lesson could be taught by letting the youth of America know what type of person it is who is committing the crimes on the news every night?  Instead they just report that a person of interest was arrested for doing the crime.  God forbid that a criminal be shot and killed during the arrests.  Whoever said it was in someone’s best interest to point a weapon at a police officer?  Personally I would not address a police officer any differently than I would my parents or my teachers with “Yes sir, or No sir!”  This is not what’s happening in America today and it all starts with and will eventually stop with students staying in school and making an attempt to learn something of importance that will eventually lead to acquiring a job other than flipping hamburgers for a minimum wage.

Prayer was removed from schools in 1962.  Most Americans have taken sides regarding prayer in school and I seriously doubt it will ever return.  Here is the problem.  Taking a few moments to reflect that there might be a moral high ground by believing in something or someone bigger than life itself might be the difference maker in teaching our children the difference between right and wrong.  So many children are now living in single parent homes.  Simple math tells me that these children have HALF of the discipline and moral upbringing that they might otherwise have.  If students are not being taught AT HOME, beginning at their earliest of ages, the difference between right and wrong, where is this moral education being taught?  No longer in the school systems because of the law banning such training back in 1962.  If you want proof of this, take a look at this graphic and then you decide the consequences of removing prayer from schools:

The reason there was a sharp rise in ACT Achievement Test Scores in 1990 was that the tests were modified to reflect what students were no longer being required to learn making the tests much easier.  Or how about this graphic regarding the currently high divorce rate since 1962?

One more regarding the increase in violent crime.  These activities do not just happen by accident.  There is an underlying cause and effect.  If students do not stay in high school, their success in life if they enjoy success will be more by accident than by design.  It will be far more difficult and the results more disastrous if students fail to realize the importance of education in their development.

This is what in the military is referred to as “collateral damage.”  There are results, both good and bad, for every law passed by our Government.

Laura Schisler writes, while I believe all of the statistics and circumstances outlined herein are correct,  the solutions must begin with the leadership. ..superintendent /board of education.  The kids can be told not to drop out, but many reasons are behind that statistic that are preventable starting with the Adults.  One interesting fact is suspension rates. Districts with higher rates have poorer results even in suburbia.   Kids who are out of school cannot learn.  Therefore,  if principals can work on solutions to keep students inside the classrooms,  the students can accomplish much more.  It's easy to kick the student out, and many times the administration would like the student out; less trouble and no longer a drag on the performance of that high school.

She continues:  Our district attempted to put into place an alternative program within the district to address the students who could not succeed.  Their parents were relieved and in tears that for the first time their student's needs were being addressed.  Unfortunately,  due to crazy politics in our district, that program was sabotaged and tossed aside before it had a chance to be developed or evaluated.

While this Nugget has pointed out truths, and where and how the kids can be reminded of the importance of staying in school,  the real issue begins with the education leadership, and that is a complex area starting with local control, as it was always intended to be.  The more the federal government gets involved, the worse it gets. 

Regarding college educations, the reality is that we have fewer jobs available for our college educated adults causing a back up, per se. The trades, such as carpentry and many others are putting young workers in amazing earning positions (not to mention future business ownerships).   The interesting part is seeing how many college educated graduates are earning around 40-50k while skilled labor is earning that and far more.  When considering the cost of a college education and the earning power it provides or not, the relationship to skilled workers income and some college educated incomes is truly shocking. 

As a real estate broker for more than 30 years, I can personally attest to the fact that a lot of college educated students, many with degrees, have obtained their real estate license and have earned far more than they ever imagined possible.  More often than not, more than other professionals, at least in the areas where my brokerage was located.  There are definitely alternatives to college degrees in the world. 

This is a link to the report on facts regarding high school dropouts.

This is a link to the report on facts regarding the imprisonment of high school dropouts.

These are very short reports and should be required reading for every parent and student attending middle or senior high school.

My advice to students…stay in school.  Work extra hard to learn what is being taught.   Make acquiring a skill of some importance leading to a goal that will take you to a good paying job.  There is no such thing as a free ride.  You will only gain what you set out to gain.  Anything more than that is gained not by design but rather by accident like winning a lottery.  How many people do you know who has won a lottery?  Exactly!  My philosophy is first, determine what you love.  Then find a way to make a career out of the love of your life.  Love what you do; do what you love!  If you do, you will never work another day in your life because you will be so engaged in doing that what you love to do the most.

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