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Thursday, July 31, 2014

At-Risk Students: A Serious Issue in American Education that Can Be Resolved

At-Risk Students: A Serious Issue in American Education that Can Be Resolved

Today's changing society has a huge impact on the students of today's world. Many factors can put a child at risk in today's society. "Changes in families", "changes in student population", and "Changes in socioeconomic patterns", all affect the student, and can put a student at risk (Kauchak & Eggen, 2005). Changes in the student population are a natural occurrence, but these students can get out of risk with the help of the community, and schools.

Not only is the world around students constantly changing, but the students themselves are changing as well. Sexuality is a touchy subject, but it has an obvious impact on students. Many students are sexually active and do not have protected sex. This leads to a high rate of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The use of alcohol and drugs is also a factor that may put students at risk. School violence is a scary and realistic factor in today's schools, and it can strongly influence a student's success. Although bullying has been taken lightly in the past it is also a form of violence, and it is detrimental to a student's achievement. Kauchak & Eggen (2005) stated "the suicide rate among adolescents has quadrupled in the last 50 years" (Chap. 4, p.144). Child abuse is another alarming but realistic factor that affects the success of our students. Kauchak & Eggen (2005) stated, "In 2001,... 900,000 children had been victims of abuse or maltreatment" (Chap.4, p.146). All of these issues are a tremendous and upsetting threat to our students and should be taken serious.
The problems of violence and drug use amongst student's in New York is a major contributing factor for at-risk students, but there are some programs that are helping the situation. "therapeutic theater program employed by Creative Alternatives of New York (CANY) to reach troubled children and adolescents works, and works well" (Art Spaes, 2000). This program provides assistance to troubled youths in New York City, and it is particularly good at helping strongly bothered students that have anger and depression problems. These programs help students deal with the challenges they face in everyday life and helps these "young people build better relationships with both peers and adults; develop valuable life skills such as focusing, listening, and self control; and provides unique opportunities for them to experience spontaneity and joy in their lives" (Art Spaes,2000). The theater program encourages the youth to express themselves by involving them in creative and fun, hands on activities, and these programs are a terrific example of how the community can help at-risk students.
This theater program is beneficial and commendable because it reaches out to students in need. Students are not only put into a situation where they required to learn, but they are also required to participate and create. This situation provides the students with knowledge, life experiences, and praise. It is a perfect example of positive reinforcement. With this program students can see how effort can bring rewards; "some extremely shy children are able to find their voices and speak loudly on their own behalf, while others overcome by anxiety or rage demonstrate the capacity to remain calm when bombarded with many pressures while portraying real life working people with multiple responsibilities" (Art Spaes, 2000). Students learn many skills that are valuable life lessons such as "focusing, listening, improvising, and exerting self-control" (Art Spaes, 2000).
This theater program is hosted by the "Art Spaes Roundtable", which is a program dedicated to helping at-risk students through the use of the arts (Art Spaes, 2000). The Art Spaes Roundtable is supported by "The New York State Council of the Arts", and has many programs that help at-risk students located through out the state of New York ( Art Spaes, 2000). The needs of the students in these programs are as well met as this program is capable of. This program seems to do its best to meet the needs of students and the instructors are knowledgeable and experienced in providing education for at-risk students. The Art Spaes Roundtable is valuable for the success of students in many ways, and the people involved in this program seem to genuinely care about the students.
At-risk students are a factor in education that should be helped. Society has changed to the point where students are bound to be affected by it. The changing world is forcing students to change, and the educational environment has to change as well in order to truly educate the students. The reality of at-risk students is upsetting and challenging, but there are programs that are and can be instituted in order to help students overcome the challenges they are presented with.
Art Spaes. (2000). Research. Retrieved August 26, 2007, from
Kauchak, D., & Eggen, P. (2005). Introduction to Teaching: Becoming a Professional. [University of Phoenix Custom Edition e-Text]. , : Prentice-Hall/Merril. Retrieved August 12, 2007, from University of Phoenix, rEsource, AED Teaching as a Profession Web site.

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