Attacking the dropout crisis with 'restarts'

The National Journal topic this week was the drop out crisis.  I think Secretary  Duncan is right, we should improve/replace the worst schools in the country.  This would quickly improve the drop out problem.  The improvement in holding power of Locke High School after Green Dot took over is an impressive example.  There are four dozen charter management organizations like Green Dot that run very good schools and they’re ready to take on ‘restart’ opportunities nationally.  They all run small supportive college prep schools with proven results.

Without concerted advocacy we’ll see few restarts and more tepid district-led improvement efforts.  A strong push by local and national advocacy groups could result in more than 200 restarts per year.  In 4-5 years we could replace most of the dropout factories and make a substantial contribution to improving the national graduation rate.

Tom Vander Ark

Tom Vander Ark is the CEO of Getting Smart. He has written or co-authored more than 50 books and papers including Getting Smart, Smart Cities, Smart Parents, Better Together, The Power of Place and Difference Making. He served as a public school superintendent and the first Executive Director of Education for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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