Friday, November 21, 2008

Dropouts! What are you doing?

“We are losing 14,000 students/year who are dropping out of our schools in Mississippi!” Dr. Hank Bounds, State Superintendent of Education in MS, told the Education Summit in Ellisville, MS. “That is a school bus full of students, each and every day of the year!”

The math on that number of students is staggering. According to the MS Department of Education, the lost lifetime earnings for one year’s worth of dropouts is $4 billion; MS would save more than $121 million in health care costs/class; and an additional $117 million annually in Medicaid savings.

I’m seeing a few communities that are starting to more fully understand the long term impact of the increasing numbers of dropouts, setting up ‘dropout swat teams’ that are both mentoring and intervening to prevent dropouts in their schools. They’ve found that if they can get a dropout back into school within days of dropping out, they have a much better chance of keeping them in school.

Colin Powell’s foundation, America’s Promise Alliance, has taken on dropouts as a major initiative. Earlier this month they developed a 90 page guidebook on what you can do to prevent dropouts in your hometown. You can download this guidebook here.

Are you making plans to prevent your dropout rate from increasing and improving your schools like Jones County, MS? Your economic future depends upon it.

No comments: