With things being as they are you can hear and read all kinds of stories about all kinds of things on any given day. U.S. Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan has made many direct comments about the severity of the dropout epidemic. He said, “States and district officials have largely tinkered in these schools, instead of treating them as educational emergencies. But children only get one chance at an education. We cannot be content with the status quo; and we cannot be content to continue tinkering.”
What is different about this story is it is the first time I have ever heard of anything like this. Wesley Smith known to students and parents as “Mr. Smith” started recruiting students for private and charter schools as a way to generate revenue to support his family and assist the community in building a pipeline back to education called, Drop Outs to Drop Ins.
Smith talked to IBNN about his work in the very beginning: “It was mostly temporary contracts to increase enrollment for schools with K-8 students, in the process of performing this body of work I would often run into high school drop outs who had no direction and felt as though because they had dropped out of school that they were like lepers – so I would give them my number and ask them to call me. After getting several calls from these kids I started to go to different high schools and ask them about re-enrollment of students, some were receptive and some were not. So where the former student could not re-enter the standard school system I would refer them to an alternative or charter school – some of these schools even contracted me to recruit students for them.”
In 2012, Smith is more interested in what method of contact he employed and who would step up to assist him, in most cases for no pay. His concern was effective outreach can only be accomplished when the communication is just as effective.
The disparity in dropouts, especially those student of color have created the following statistics:
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