Addressing the Drop Out Challenge

One of the challenges facing our nation and our district is the dropout rate. Here is New Hanover County Schools’ dropout rate, which has been on the decline for the last three years until now. The chart below shows this trend.

Number dropouts from 1998 - 2009

This year, we will see a reversal of that trend and the number will increase from 349 to 385. To address this, our district has formed a Dropout Task Force to examine our current practices and to evaluate their effectiveness. We are examining attendance polices, alternative programs, and we are discussing our current teaching practices. Some of the most contentious discussions are centered on student motivation and if our policies should be punitive in nature or reward based in nature. Research is beginning to show that maybe neither approach is the best way. Daniel Pink is a nationally-known speaker on education and the need to change what we are doing. His newest book is Drive, which examines the recent science and theory related to achievement. I am embedding a short video clip that captures the essence of his work. 

I intend to show this to our Dropout Task Force and use it to help frame our discussions about where the district’s policies and ideas need to go. I want to use some of the ideas to help drive our discussions on teaching and learning. Any comments or thoughts are welcome.

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