Strong Support Systems
There are many different ways to think about the word "education." The main aspect of education I want to focus on is the high school dropout rate and how to help support education for students statewide.
Growing up, I was raised in the foster care system, and school was like a getaway for me. Becuase of this, my urge to go to school was very strong. However, I also struggled in school. As many students do, I dealt with bullying, insecurity, not fitting in, and a host of other issues. Why do some students succeed despite their hardships and some fail? Why is it hard for some students to get to school and complete it?
I believe the main factor is a lack of encouraging support system that students have. A strong support system is essential to basic guidance. Such a system allows students to have a guide, keeping them on track and focused while in school. Students lacking positive role models or someone acting in their best interest are often forced to turn to negative influences to fill that role. Those students that struggle will need a role model or an adult that they can turn to for support, encouraging them to reach their potential.
A support system assists in times of trouble and crisis. It allows students to have someone to turn to when needing someone to talk to. As I mentioned. a lot of students deal with insecurity, bullying, lack of acceptance. Having someone there to turn to will allow students to handle these issues in a better way, other than running away from the issue and not coming to school. They will be able to have a way to deal with social issues. We need to realize that not all students have a supportive family to help them through those tough times.
A support system also helps prevent students on the brink from dropping out of school. Quitting school is far too easy an option for students. Students often think that dropping out is the easy way out of all their problems. In order for this change, they must have a stable support system to guide them away from dropping out. Also, participating in school activities and sports gives students a sense of urgency to attend school in order to participate. The relationships they build can have a lasting positive impact on their education.
The question I wanted to answer was: What makes it hard for students to graduate high school? The answer to that question is that students do not have a stable support system; they deal with insecurity, bullying, and not being accepted in their environment. Students need positive support systems to motivate them to attend school and participate.
This is especially true for students in the foster care system. Indiana Connected by 25 works to support students transiting out of foster care, helping to give them a more encouraging start. They work with communities to develop programs and services to prepare youth in foster care for a successful transition to adulthood.
Education starts outside of school. Providing students with positive supports, and being able to teach students that high school is important and it is the first step to successful future.
Justin Kidder is a Criminal Justice student at Ivy Tech. Born in California, he now lives in Indiana, where he grew up in the foster care system. He now uses his experience in foster care to improve the lives of current and future foster youth. He now advocates for youth’s rights as a leader on the Indiana Youth Advisory Board for Indiana Connected by 25. Taking his impact nationwide, Justin also sits on the Jim/Annie E Casey Fellow Board.