In researching studies about online learning, charter schools and students at risk of dropping out of school, I continue to come across more and more case studies and reports that show the education gap that exists across the United States.
This recent report (2009, pdf), “Gaining Ground on High School Graduation Rates...” from the Southern Regional Education Board shows that there is a 74% graduation rate (which means 26% do not graduate and do not earn a high school diploma). Among African American and Hispanic students, the graduation rate is 55%. This report is based on data from the most recent NCES report (2009) entitled, “High School DropOut and Graduation Rates: 2007.”
This morning, a related NPR story caught my attention. The story, “Racial achievement gap still plagues schools” lead me to the website, “Mind the Gap“, a yearlong study completed by Nancy Solomon. The study shows the racial differences of students who attend Columbia High School in New Jersey. And how white and black students are treated differently…not just at this school, but at every high school like this across America.
The dropout crisis is complicated and complex. Every person in every city needs to be working together to change this direction throughout the United States.
I meet the faces of some of these students from Central California every day in the charter online school for which I am the principal. The faces are Asian, white, Hispanic, African American, Filipino and all races. All students want to learn, want to connect with teachers, want to engage in learning, and want to earn a high school diploma. Some students are frustrated with traditional school, some students want different options for learning, and some students have had many negative school experiences.
We need to work together in all of our communities to improve the graduation rate for all high school students in America.