President Obama touts dropout rate, but 35 million Americans still don’t have diplomas

There’s no question the country is heading in the right direction when it comes to keeping students in school, but in a nation with 35 million dropouts, prevention is not enough.

“Until every American has the opportunity to go back to school, we cannot be satisfied with a decrease in dropout rates,” said Rebekah Richards, the chief academic officer and co-founder of Graduation Alliance, which partners with more than 80 school districts across the United States to give young men and women a path back to school and sponsors this blog.

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U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gives new guidelines on school discipline in hopes of stopping school-to-prison pipeline

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder wants schools to stop criminalizing students that don't follow basic school rules.

The Department of Justice filed several lawsuits against cities that charge students with crimes for violations as small as dress code issues. Yes, in some places in the country, you can have a juvenile record for wearing the wrong color socks.

Holder spoke about the rollout of the new disciplinary guidelines, hoping to end the school-to-prison pipeline that sadly exists in districts around the country.

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Washington program helps dropouts earn diplomas

A program in Washington State is earning the attention of dropouts who want to earn their high school diploma.

The program, called iGrad, is a collaboration between Kent School District and Green River Community College has enrolled 540 students and many more are waiting to get in, according to The Seattle Times.

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Would you hire a high school dropout?

Would you hire a high school dropout?

It's the question the Seattle Times' Education Lab Blog is asking this week.

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Getting a good understanding of dropout and graduation numbers can be tough, as one Utah district is finding

As the saying goes, torture numbers long enough, and they'll tell you anything.

That seems particularly true for dropout and graduation rates.

The federal government changed how graduation statistics were calculated a couple years ago, and that was supposed to make such calculations easier.

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New Mexico bill wanting to take driver's licenses from dropouts won't help students succeed

A lawmaker in New Mexico has filed a bill to take away driving privileges for teens who drop out of school.

Republican State Senator and former school board member Craig Brandt pre-filed the bill, according to KRQE.

This is his second try to get such a bill passed — last year it didn't even make it out of committee.

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Cleveland School District takes early approach to dropout prevention

The Cleveland School District in Mississippi is going back to the beginning to prevent dropouts.

Officials are working with students as young as pre-kindergarten to help boost graduation rates, according to the Clarion Ledger.

“I think that the road to graduation starts at the pre-K level. Right now we have six pre-K classes within the district, and we work in collaboration with Bolivar County Community Action Agency Head Start Centers,” Thigpen said.
“The state has published early learning standards for 3- and 4-year-olds, and we are trying to make sure that children are working on those early learning standards,” she said.

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Canadian program helps students with social, emotional and economic programs make it to graduation

To bring the new year to a close, let's look at an incredible program from our neighbors to the north.

The Vancouver Sun featured a student, Thea Luchak, who suffered from social anxiety badly enough that she began failing school.

She shut down socially and delved into the world of books. After reading some philosophy texts, she realized she needed to get her anxiety under control. She began pursuing her dream of creating art, and her fellow students began praising her. Just as important as her newly found self-confidence was an alternative program called Spectrum that is designed to help students who suffer from social, emotional or economic struggles.

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Florida looks at raising the dropout age to 18

Florida is mulling the idea of increasing its dropout age to 18.

State Senator Darren Soto argues that 16 is too young to leave school, and he wants to make sure students know that, according to WJHG.

“I believe that we need to make them stay in school until 18 when they at least have enough maturity to make the decision if they want to continue,” said Soto.

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Denver program helps at-risk students stay on track

Here's a heartwarming tale for the holiday season.

A program called Denver Kids Inc. in Colorado is helping about 1,000 at-risk students stay on the path to graduation.

The group hooks kids up with counselors who stay with the student from seventh grade on, inquiring about school, helping to solve family problems and pushing through other obstacles that might have derailed them from graduation.

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