How does equity affect education? What's the difference between in-risk students versus at-risk students?
Our educational crisis is like a rising tide of water that is not affecting some of us but rapidly drowning all of us.
Diagnosing the Educational Emergency in the United States
Our educational crisis is like a rising tide of water that’s rapidly affecting all of us. In a crisis, the medical field has a proven response system that helps identify what needs exist. This system used by ERs (emergency rooms) across the world, like the Army and the Red Cross, categorizes people based on their needs.
These categories are tagged as green, which represents stable conditions but still needs attention in order to prevent future complications. Next is yellow, which means observation and some medical attention is needed. Lastly, red means urgent care is needed or the patient will die.
We need to transfer this proven approach to education. The reality is only 75% of high school students will graduate, and this number is only 60% for African Americans and Latinos.
To identify what needs exist for students, we utilize in-risk and at-risk to identify their needs.
What is the difference between in-risk and at-risk students?
The students who do not graduate are what we call in-risk. They represent the red category. Half of these students stated they did not see school as "relevant to their lives" or that classes weren’t "engaging".
Of the remaining students, only 35% will be college ready and eligible to attend a four-year university. This is only true for 25% of African-Americans and Latinos. The students who are not college bound are what we call at-risk. They are living in an exposed or potential at-risk environment. These students make up the yellow category.
The remaining students who “made it” still have another hurdle to overcome. These students are at risk in the future and make up the green category. They are at-risk in the future is because only 60% will graduate from college within six years.
How is this affecting our future?
According to Fortune 500 companies, less than 25% of college graduates are excellently prepared for the workforce. This means only 5% of all students in the educational system are excellently prepared to enter the workforce, which basically means all of our students are in some form of risk.
The question then becomes what should we be teaching students to really prepare them for a 21st century workforce.
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