This information is being forwarded to the Tutor/Mentor Connection network because we agree fully in its message:
To: Our Colleagues
From: Howard Adelman and Linda Taylor
Re: ADDRESSING THE DROPOUT PROBLEM INVOLVES MORE THAN WHAT POLICY MAKERS ARE PROPOSING
In a March 1st speech, President Obama challenged states to identify high schools with graduation rates below 60%.
There is no issue about it being time for all of us to come together.
But just identifying high schools with poor graduation rates and applying one of the four school improvement reform models certainly is no more than a
and one that will likely have some undesired consequences and that clearly doesn’t provide a significant focus on bringing school and community stakeholders together. And, it is unclear how new investments in dropout prevention and recovery strategies will fit into a school’s efforts to address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students.
The Obama Administration has committed $3.5 billion to fund transformational changes in America’s persistently low-performing schools and the President’s FY 2011 budget includes $900 million to support School Turnaround Grants. In addition, the President has “emphasized the importance of investing in dropout prevention and recovery strategies to help make learning more engaging and relevant for students, and announced new efforts to invest $100 million in a College Pathways program to promote a college readiness culture in high schools, through programs that allow students to earn a high school diploma and college credit at the same time”
(as reported in the
From a policy and practice perspective, the problem is that federal, state, and local policy are not aligned around intervention and operational infrastructure frameworks that directly focus on weaving school and community resources together to address barriers to learning and teaching and re-engage disconnected students.
The renewed focus on increasing graduation rates provides an opportunity. But, only if policy makers work more directly on how to bring stakeholders together to develop the type of comprehensive intervention system needed to improve K-12 in ways that reduce dropouts and improve readiness for postsecondary education.
(Much more is involved here than calling for community schools and coordinating services.) It requires moving policy and practice for improving schools and increasing graduate rates from the currently prevailing two component school reform model to a three-component framework.
Thus, if schools are to increase graduation rates, they need school improvement guidelines that go well beyond those currently in use.
And, all this has major implications for the ESEA reauthorization.
For our Center’s policy and practice analyses related to all this, see:
For a more indepth discussion of matters related to increasing graduation rates, see