A 30 percent dropout rate – and not getting any better….One in ten North Carolina students receive a short term out-of-school suspension each year (45 percent higher than the national average)….Overrepresentation of minority students among groups with the highest numbers of suspended and expelled students….What works?.. Early prevention programs.
These were some of my notes from Tuesday’s Joint Legislative Commission on Dropout Prevention and High School Graduation. Not a happy picture. In the past the Commission has advocated dropout coordinators, prevention grants and a variety of other specialized programs. None with much success. Yet, the Commission grinds along. I’d like to hear a compelling reason why the public should be forced to spend another dollar on programs that have failed to produce any meaningful results. Early prevention programs have been mentioned as one of the most effective means of ensuring students stay on track to graduate.
In my view, the best early intervention program is school choice. If you were one of the thousand plus who attended the Parents for Education Freedom rally in Durham, you’d know why. It’s hard to quibble with success. Schools like Durham Nativity work to ensure young men from disadvantaged backgrounds receive not only a challenging education but also solid moral and character training. When students graduate they have the skills and discipline necessary to escape the cycle of poverty. Many go on to top notch high schools and colleges and universities. It works.
What doesn’t work is that thousands of parents who want to provide their children with better educational opportunities don’t have access to schools like Durham Nativity or can’t afford private school tuition. It’s time parents hold lawmakers accountable for limiting the educational opportunities of our children and condemning many of them to failing schools in troubled environments. We’d revolt if state government told us our son or daughter could only attend a certain college. Yet we quietly accept it when state government tells us where we must send our son or daughter to school. Why?