NYT: Stop Holding Us Back

Brian Stauffer

Drop Out Factories

It is no surprise that many students from poverty stricken areas who lack the proper support are dropping out. The schools even have a name, they are called “Drop Out Factories”. Yet what is required to support these students is not an enigma. We have already seen how these students from these types of schools are being supported for success on the university level, the blueprint is already there. Why is it important to reach these students? I was recently watching Cosmos, hosted by Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson. He told the story of Michael Farraday, a person raised in immense poverty, who was able to make discoveries that changed the world. How many young people like him are we failing to find when we lose them to these “Drop Out Factories”? What is the cost to the nation and world?

According to Robert Balfanz of the New York Times, “We have also learned that most students who eventually drop out can be identified as early as the sixth grade by their attendance, behavior and course performance, according to studies by the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins, where I am the director, and the University of Chicago Consortium on Chicago School Research. Using those indicators, it is possible to identify by the middle of ninth grade virtually everyone who will drop out. These young men are waving their hands early and often to say they need help, but our educational and student-support systems aren’t organized to recognize and respond to their distress signals.”

It is clear, we know how to identify at risk young Americans, and we know what interventions work. It is now time to find the collective will to implement them. Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Walter Duncan is the teacher Co-Creator of the Quick Key App, which allows teachers to grade paper assessments with their smart devices. Please go to www.quickkeyapp.com to find out more.

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