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.

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Tom Vander Ark is author of Difference Making at the Heart of Learning, The Power of Place, Better Together, Smart Parents, Smart Cities and Getting Smart. He is co-founder of Getting Smart and serves on the boards of Education Board Partners, 4.0 Schools, Digital Learning Institute, Latinx Education Collaborative, Mastery Transcript Consortium and eduInnovation. Follow Tom on Twitter, @tvanderark.


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