Raising Their Voices: Causes and Solutions for the Dropout Crisis

Date: April 27, 2010

I was inspired recently by a study called “Raising Their Voices,” whose authors brought students, parents and teachers together to discuss the dropout crisis.  We, as educators, need to listen – and pay attention—to the voices that have been raised.

Researchers John Bridgeland, Robert Balfanz, Laura A. Moore and Rebecca S. Friant prepared a powerful report about issues on the minds and in the hearts of students, parents and teachers.  Authors and participants identified many challenges to staying in school. They also made a number of solid recommendations. The full report is available here.

At Ombudsman, we have carefully selected our philosophies, educational resources and instructional process, performance expectations and methods for communication with students, parents and districts.  I was gratified to see that many of the recommendations the authors and the participants discussed are already part of the Ombudsman approach – coursework that is relevant and challenging, small class size, personalized attention from teachers and high academic standards.

It is due to the outstanding work of our Ombudsman teachers, center directors and operations managers that we will have the opportunity to expand some centers and open new centers in the coming school year. Without their dedication to helping each child achieve, we would not have this privilege to serve additional students.

In order to continue to be a solution to the dropout crisis, we need to keep up the great work, and listen for new ideas. We should welcome suggestions from students, parents, staff and district partners with open minds. Together, we can remove obstacles, improve the educational experience of our students and increase the likelihood of graduation.

If you haven’t had an opportunity to read the report, I encourage you to do so. And I invite you to let me know how you listen to the raised voices of students, parents and teachers as you seek to enhance education for the benefit of your students and your communities.

What voices inspire you?

What new ideas will help us improve?


Categories: Alternative Education, Dropout Prevention & Recovery, News
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