How Old Is The Kid In The Mormon Boys Show Failing Idaho Public Schools

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Failing Idaho Public Schools

I can’t believe these ratings, Idaho!

In a 2007 study by the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), Idaho schools were rated 41 out of 50 states for preparing students for college. It has been found that less than 30% of high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 24 attend higher education.(1) According to the same study done in 2009, Idaho’s schools fell to 48th place out of 50 states.(2) Yet in the same schools in Idaho graduate 90% or more.

Help! We are drowning in high school diplomas.

I read that and thought, ‘Great. Now our graduates can apply for welfare with the rest of us.’ Our school system is pumping thousands of students into an already saturated work environment. Post Falls has led to 13.4 percent unemployment over the past few years.(4) This is great for employers, but tough for us older workers. Now we have to compete with thousands of young, strong, attractive, computer-savvy kids. Kids who should be going to college but will happily accept fifty cents over minimum wage instead. Thank you so much Idaho for getting us old people out of the workforce.

Welcome graduates to Real Life 101

“So what are you going to do with your life now, Johnny or Susie?” Most of these kids are smart enough to say, “I’m going to college.” That always manages to get Aunt Ellen off her back. However, they did not complete the FAFSA, enroll, or take the ACT tests to go to college. Are these things supposed to magically happen? But who really cares? The school system seems to be fine with 30% going to college. It doesn’t matter what happens after high school as long as those kids pass No Child Left Behind standards. Handing that diploma to 90% of seniors keeps that federal dollar coming in and opens doors for business. Here’s a quick life lesson from an Idaho school: NCLB mandates notwithstanding, the modern world revolves around good college degrees no high school diploma.

Generally, high school graduates have no idea or plan on how to get to the next step. Only one other senior on my son’s football team went to college. It’s like these kids have to go to detox in high school. They have to recover from being spoon fed educational pudding and then suddenly start digesting the real meat of life. If they don’t recover quickly, life will surely turn around and eat them alive.

Oh yes, they have their degree and the freedom to pursue their dreams, but what happens when the jolt of reality wakes them up? It’s no longer a free or reduced lunch. It doesn’t matter if you can run 800 in less than 2 minutes. None of that crap matters anymore. The coach is gone, and neither is your favorite teacher. Welcome to real life and good luck.

So, according to these studies, 70% of these children cannot or do not want to get a college education. What do these kids end up doing with all this newfound freedom and youthful energy? Some get a job at a corner store to pay for their car loan, gas, and phone. Some find part-time work, join the military, or simply live at home. Some are really good at computer games, partying, sex, or anything else to pass the time. They wander around trying to figure life out – sometimes for years. Sometimes they never realize it. Why, after 12 years of schooling and millions of dollars in taxes, didn’t they prepare them for this moment? One cruel reality check is that just being a high school senior doesn’t give you much of an advantage when over 90% of everyone else has a high school diploma. (6)

Who is to blame for this mess?

I blame this whole economic problem on the school system. The “school system” is what is broken and no caring coaches and school teachers. The system had our children for 12 years 6 to 8 hours a day, employed the best teachers, spent 1.2 million per district per year…and it can’t do better than 30%? By the way, those 30% are students of home and private schools. So don’t take credit for that 30% of Idaho.

When I was a kid and I came home with 30% I would kick my ass. ‘Wait until your father comes home to the schools in Idaho. Wait a minute. Do you even have a father? Well, someone should beat your ass with an Idaho panhandle paddle for such bad grades. Then take away your Lotto allowance too. You are sentenced to play with more school fee money until you collect your damn ACT. Is it understood in Idaho schools? Now go to the school board meeting.”

Isn’t it great with them than with the students?

What makes matters worse is that not all of those 30% of “prepared” students graduate from college. A NCHEMS study found that in Idaho, only half of those who start college would graduate. For 2008, NCHEMS confirmed that Idaho is once again at the bottom of the union. Only 15% were able to make the full transition from high school to college.(3) We are now down to 10 to 15 percent of the population earning a decent degree. That figure is consistent with a recent demographic study for Post Falls, Idaho. With a population of 28,000, only 2,800 adult residents have a BA degree.(5)

So what can I do about it?

As a single father with no family support and raising 4 children alone, I had to do something. I had to break this cycle of poverty for the sake of my child and their future families. I became determined not to let them fall to that dire statistic. I wasn’t sure that I wouldn’t depend on a bad school system either. I wanted them to graduate from college. They were already disadvantaged with generations of family poverty and an unstable living environment. I wasn’t much help either with my worthless AA and medical assistant degree.

So I approached this situation with the “scared successful” method of discipline and motivation. Fortunately, my children are smart and respectful. Eventually, they realized the value of a good education. Once they realized that, there was no stopping them. They excelled in school, sports, community programs and church.

Now Moriah is 21, has her own apartment, car and is finishing her nursing program at NIC. Jacob is a sophomore at the University of Idaho and plays football for the Idaho Vandals. Ivory is a senior at Post Falls High School with one of the highest grades in the school. She is active in her church and helps handicapped children. Ivory and Moriah are CNAs and are all interested in the medical field. Selah, my oldest, is a responsible hardworking mother. She takes care of two children, including a blind and disabled baby. I couldn’t be a prouder parent.

IT WORKED! I have to tell someone!

These results did not happen by luck or by chance. This approach to life and education also worked in my dysfunctional situation. I wanted to share this success with the Post Falls School District. I wanted other parents to have the same insight. I wanted them to have the same experience. I wanted to convey this message to their children before they fall into that 70%.

I put together a curriculum to showcase the school district. It was a plan designed to motivate, encourage and direct high school students to higher education. I have invested hundreds of hours to develop material and life lessons. I created a website for parents who have difficult family problems called ‘Life By Phil’. I am also a photographer and shoot business videos. So I proposed a plan that would produce student/athlete profile videos. I work with an advertising agency that could host their profiles for very little money. College recruiters, scholarship committees, and potential employers can easily view these student profiles. These included ways to provide money for application scholarships and college entrance tests.

Oops. I should have done my homework.

I was excited. I believed this would work, help students, parents and teachers. It could help the economy, Idaho… the world. So I took my polished resume and plan to the Post Falls School District. Unfortunately, I cannot provide access to students unless I am a certified public school teacher. They cannot promote private business. She also mentioned that those state figures are skewed because of the Mormon population in the South. Instead of going to college after high school, the boys go on missions. “We have our own way of collecting statistics and our graduates tell us they plan to go to college. But thanks for coming.” she said. “We’re always interested in what parents have to say.”

But…but…I have a degree. Curse. “But I tried, didn’t I? #@%, at least I did.” ~Cuckoo’s Nest

References:

1) NCHEMS Information Center, college participation, 18-24 years heightenedinfo.org/dbrowser/?year=2007&level=nation&mode=graph&state=0&submeasure=331,1/13/2012

2) NCHEMS Information Center, college participation, 18-24 years heightenedinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?submeasure=331&year=2009&level=nation&mode=graph&state=0.1/13/2012

3) NCHEMS Information Center, Students – 9th Grade to College Transition and Completion Rates, 2008.. heightenedinfo.org/dbrowser/index.php?submeasure=119&year=2008&level=nation&mode=graph&state=0, 14.1.2012.

4) City-Data.com, Post Falls, Idaho, city-data.com/city/Post-Falls-Idaho.html, 14.1.2012.

5) ZoomProspector, Post Falls, Idaho, zoomprospector.com/communitydetail.aspx?id=8154,1/14/2011

6) ZoomProspector, Post Falls, Idaho, zoomprospector.com/communitydetail.aspx?id=8154,1/14/2011

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