Over the past 40 years, Marguerite W. Kondracke has worked in government, business and the non-profit sector. But one thing has remained constant: Kondracke's focus on the needs of children and families.
Baltimore City Schools made national headlines last fall when it announced it had slashed its dropout rate by 56 percent over three years. And unlike other districts, it had done so without leaving black males behind.
When New Haven, Conn. school reform czar Garth Harries heard those results, he shot an email to Baltimore Superintedent Andrés Alonso to ask how he'd done it.
For the past month, education experts have been trying to better understand Shanghai's surprise success in the annual Program for International Student Assessment — a test given to 15-year-old students across the world, the results of which provide a shorthand assessment of each nation's relative educational achievements.
We've learned a lot since launching NoDropouts.org, five months ago:
We've learned that everyone can play a role in the effort to keep students in school.
It's 8 a.m., and Mission High School choir director Steven Hankle is about to start class. Soul and hip-hop tunes play softly in the background while students trickle in. A young Latina girl pulls her friend up from the chair, and the two dance for a few minutes; an African American girl sings along. Sandwiched between two pianos, the 29-year-old teacher is writing out a holiday concert rehearsal schedule: "Deck the Halls," "This Christmas," a Latin remake of "Stand by Me" and "La Bamba."
The Times-Herald of Vallejo, Calif., is taking a novel approach to the dropout crisis: It has asked its Facebook fans to suggest solutions to the city's nearly 50-percent dropout rate.
The answers run the gamut, but a few themes emerge:
If you had asked Paul Smith a few months ago what the future held for his stepson, Elijah Rice, he would have responded, “Jail.”
But not anymore. Smith, of Springfield, now proudly says that the 17-year-old will be heading to Lincoln Land Community College soon to prepare for a career as an electrician.
The inestimable RiShawn Biddle is asking a poignant and provocative question at Dropout Nation this week: Why don't black churches start their own schools?
The General Motors Foundation is donating $27.1 million to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan with the goal of dramatically increasing graduation rates — and ultimately rebuilding the area’s skilled workforce.
The donation is the largest ever in the 34-year history of the foundation, and comes at a time in which some parts of Detroit — particularly those where the most manufacturing jobs have been lost in recent years — are suffering from dropout rates as high as 50 percent.
One month ago a coalition of researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and lawyers convened in Washington, D.C., at a conference entitled, "Civil Rights in School Discipline: Addressing Disparities to Ensure Educational Opportunity," cosponsored by the Department of Justice and the Department of Education.