Tim King: There is no silver bullet solution to the dropout crisis

Tim King had some really insightful thoughts about what makes for a successful school in a guest column he wrote for the Chicago Sun-Times.

The founder & CEO of Urban Prep Academies, a network of all-boys charter public schools in Chicago and a lecturer at Northwestern University, said people are always asking him for the secret ingredient to creating a school that is filled with excelling, graduating students. The question has become even more common since he announced a 100 percent graduation rate at Urban Prep.

“It’s no secret that many school districts across the country are in trouble, especially in urban centers like Chicago. High dropout rates, skyrocketing numbers of suspensions and expulsions, low graduation rates and abysmal levels of college enrollment and completion are far too common,” he wrote. “But the prevailing notion that our current education troubles can be solved by a single panacea, a silver bullet or a secret ingredient is wrong.”

Focusing on one single solution simply doesn’t work. Students and their issues are too diverse to be fixed by a rote formula to apply to all schools.

“Just because every student won’t thrive at a single-gender school, a charter school, an arts school, a technology school, a vocational school, a Montessori school, an African-centric school, or a magnet school doesn’t mean our public school system shouldn’t have all those options and more,” he wrote. “In fact, it means we should.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Providing flexibility and accessibility to students and adapting to their individual strengths and needs is essential in ending the dropout epidemic. NoDropouts champions every approach that helps a student walk across the stage. It’s essential districts throughout the nation continue to offer different styles of instruction to ensure every student earns a diploma.

It’s inspiring to see programs such as Urban Prep Academies working for students. Keep up the great innovation and dedication!