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Add vocational training to reduce dropout rates

The title of a recent News article, “Buffalo ranks No. 3 in nation for childhood poverty,” seems a bit off-base. Shouldn’t it read: “No. 3 in adult, center-city poverty”? How could it be otherwise when dropout parents are raising dropout teens, generation after generation?

Is there a solution? I believe that there is. The most aggressive answer would be to eliminate or dramatically reduce welfare and food stamps for dropout families.

Another, better answer perhaps:

1) Stop the educational elite idea of a Regents curriculum for all students, whether or not they are interested in attending college.

2) Provide aptitude-interest tests between the eighth and ninth grades to determine where and how students should be educated in high school. Inform the parents and the students of alternative career opportunities.

3) Dramatically increase vocational school training opportunities for students with that aptitude. We have a pressing need for well-paid vocationally trained people. And many of the vocations pay well!

Would our dropout rate substantially decrease? I think so. What have we got to lose by trying it? The 50 percent-plus dropout rate must stop.

Philip Wiggle

Amherst