The U.S. is currently facing a dropout crisis. According to Grad Nation research (a dropout convention campaign launched by President Obama) the national high school graduation rate is 75%, meaning that one out of every four students drops out before he/she finishes high school. The situation is much worse for African-Americans and Hispanics, where only close to one out of every two students is expected to graduate from high school. Around 30% of those that do graduate need remedial courses in college, and a considerable amount of these students do not complete college. More details for Grad Nation can be found at:
There are a couple of different factors that have been identified for the high dropout rate including: low wages for teachers, lack of financial resources, inadequate training for teachers, ill-defined curriculums, lack of parental support, current labor union structure, overcrowded classrooms, financial responsibilities, and many more. There are a couple of different initiatives that have launched during the past couple of years to combat this epidemic. One of the most noteworthy is KIPP or the Knowledge is Power Program. KIPP is a national network of free, open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. Their goal is to KIPP builds a partnership among parents, students, and teachers that puts learning first by providing outstanding educators, more time in school learning, and a strong culture of achievement. More information about KIPP and some of the potential factors causing this epidemic can be found at:
The difference between the KIPP model and the current public school model is that the KIPP program is deliberately targeted to serve low income children, specifically minorities. KIPP offers a longer school day (7:30-5PM), Saturday classes, and three and a half weeks of summer classes for all students. This means that KIPP students spend 67% more time in class than public school students. KIPP teachers also utilize a variety of teaching devices including visual aids and lively repetitive chants. All stakeholders, including the parents, the students, and the teachers are expected to sign a “Commitment to Excellence” which promises that the student will commit time and effort to his/her education. These strategies have resulted in higher test scores for students on national exams, and high college acceptance rates for graduating KIPP seniors. Some more information on their model and progress can be found at:
Most of these challenges with education are not limited to the U.S., meaning they can also be found in other parts of the world. Perhaps some of the successful models applied in the U.S. could also add value to other parts of the world.