Create lasting change; Collaboration is key to reducing high school dropout rates.

Author:Brennan, Michael
Position:Transforming Michigan's Economy

A national study last year revealed that there are thirty-five schools in our region that have dropout rates of 40 percent of higher. Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities have high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent, with the lowest graduation rates reported in Detroit, Indianapolis and Cleveland, according to a study recently released by America's Promise Alliance.


One D partners New Detroit, the Detroit Regional Chamber and United Way for Southeastern Michigan--in partnership with the America's Promise Alliance, the Skillman Foundation and the Detroit Parent Network--recently hosted a "Dropout Prevention Summit and Retreat" at Lawrence Technological University. The goal moving forward is three-fold:

* To inspire leaders and stakeholders throughout the region to commit to turning around our failing high schools;

* To create regional confidence that by working collaboratively we can effectively address these problems, based on the success of other cities, such as Boston and New York;

* To build a common understanding of how to implement turnaround solutions.

Unless we work together to stem the tide of the current high school dropout rate in our region, our community will suffer devastating long-term effects. We do know that urban school districts with high-performing, high-poverty schools share five keys to success:

  1. Stronger incentives for change.

  2. The support of a school turnaround office within the district.

  3. The hiring and training of effective school leaders who have control over their school's budget...

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