Higher Wages vs. Education 10/18/12
CBS 7 News
October 18, 2012
In a booming economy high schools across the Permian basin are seeing more students choose money over education.
Meanwhile clerks with the municipal courts say they are busy filing truancy citations.
Sophomore Michael Garcia and Junior Audrey Dix says finding that balance between work and school can be a challenge.
“I need the money so I can help my dad around the house and help him pay bills,” said Garcia who works two hours a day.
“I’m saving up for a car,” said Dix, “but i think education is more important than money.”
Michael and Audrey are part of the thousands of students who work while going to school, but for many students the workload is too much.
Scott Randolph works with truant students as a social worker for Ector County ISD. He says with the growing economy employers are paying students more now they are choosing high wager instead of an education.
“Especially the older kids,” he said.
So far Midland and Odessa have filed over 400 citations for each district.
Randolph says Odessa has reinstated a new policy where students and even their parents can serve time behind bars for violating a court order.
“There are real consequences for truancies,” he said.
But with a strong fist, they extend a helping hand.
“There are fines, but there are also services to get the kids caught back up,” he said.
Margie Martinez says “Communities in Schools” is one of many programs designed to help "at risk" students. Many choose the workforce.
“We have communities in schools in Midland and Odessa,” she said, “Many students have to help their parents to pay the bills, we don't have kids like we used to, we have kids worried about where they are going to live, sleep and what their going to eat.”
Randolph says over the past four years truancies have declined and he plans on keeping it that way.
“Everybody deserves serves a good shot at life,” he said, “and one of the very basics is a high school degree.”