Vol 14, no 1 Header
National Dropout Prevention Center/Network Update
July 2014 - Vol. 14 No. 6

Dropout Prevention Update

Summary for July

  1. 26th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference
  2. Solutions to the Dropout Crisis Broadcast June 4
  3. From Our Research Fellows
  4. NDPC/N Publication Sale of the Month
  5. Top Stories
  6. Effective Strategies
  7. Policy Initiatives
  8. Media

26th Annual National Dropout Prevention Network Conference

November 2-5, 2014

The Galt House, Louisville, KY

Please join us this November for another fantastic Network Conference, taking place this year in Louisville, Kentucky. Our partners include the Kentucky Department of Education, Jefferson County Public Schools, Kent State University, and others. This conference will feature 11 unique topical strands and a track specifically geared towards school administrators. The latter, led by 2009 National High School Principal of the Year, Mark Wilson, will guide school administrators in developing effective schoolwide efforts to boost student achievement and graduation rates. Our keynote speakers will feature Hasan Davis, former Kentucky Department of Juvenile Justice Commissioner; Gene Wilhoit, the Executive Director for the Center for Innovation in Education; and Emily Kirkpatrick, the Vice President for the National Center for Families Learning. For more information on the conference, presenters, and registration information, please visit our Louisville conference page.

Solutions to the Dropout Crisis

A Place Where They Want to Be

Photo of Mark Wilson

Our June webcast featured Dr. Mark Wilson, who will be leading the administrators' track at our Network conference in Louisville. As the 2009 National High School Principal of the Year, Dr. Wilson offers valuable perspectives on creating school environments that foster student achievement. If you are interested in attending Dr. Wilson's session in Louisville in November, or simply wish to learn more about successful learning environments, we highly recommend watching Dr. Wilson's webcast, available here. As always, participation is free and no registration is required.

Previous video and audio webcasts are now archived and can be viewed here and on Youtube.

Recommended Reading From Our Research Fellows


This month's recommendations are courtesy of Dr. Robert Schumer, a research associate for the University of Minnesota, and an inaugural fellow of the National Dropout Prevention Center/Network. He recommends two books: The Death and Life of the Great American School System, and Reign of Error, both by Diane Ravitch. Concerning both of these books, Shumer states:

She [Ravitch] talks of the undermining of American public education and the efforts to privatize schools by attacking them as being terrible and ineffective. There is too much in the books to summarize here, but they unfortunately make the case that was made by David Berliner and Bruce Biddle almost 20 years ago in The Manufactured Crisis, where they warn of the efforts to demonize public education ... in order to undermine confidence in public schools and turn them over to companies to run. These books all address concerns of dropouts and how to work to improve the systems to accommodate what we know works. Many potential dropouts are excluded from charters and other alternative systems precisely because they are perceived as problems in schools and don't perform well on tests.

Both books are available on Amazon.com and at other major booksellers.

Sale of the Month

The High-Performance Workforce and the At-Risk Student

By Patrick J. O'Connor

The needs of the workplace are changing, with employers throughout the country calling for employees to be better prepared. The author of this monograph recognizes that the dropout situation impacts our economic challenges and provides examples of successful approaches to meeting the educational needs of at-risk students so they can become part of the high-performance workforce. (2006)

--50% off retail price-- Order your copy now.

Top Stories

A recent report, Don't Call Them Dropouts, from America's Promise Alliance and its Center for Promise at Tufts University, confirms the National Dropout Prevention Center's long-standing stance that there are multiple risk factors that increase the likelihood that students will drop out and that dropping out of school is often the result of a long process of disengagement. Read the report at http://gradnation.org/report/dont-call-them-dropouts

In a working paper, "Income Inequality, Social Mobility, and the Decision to Drop Out of High School," published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Melissa Kearney and Phillip Levine examined the relationship between income inequality, social mobility, and high school dropout rates, arguing that high levels of income inequality and low perceptions of social mobility correlate with higher dropout rates among at-risk individuals. The figure below illustrates the linear correlation between economic inequality—measured as the ratio of the number of students at the 50th percentile and those at the 10th percentile of household income distribution—and the dropout percentage, by state. The linear equation demonstrates correlation. Kearney and Levine use this correlation to argue for a psychological causation dealing with the perception of social mobility, among other things. The full text article is available on the National Bureau of Economic Research's Web site.


Effective Strategies

Safe Learning Environments

A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, Indicators of School Crime and Safety: 2013, presents statistics on crime and safety at schools and on college campuses using data collected from students, teachers, principals, and postsecondary institutions, drawing from an array of sources. The report covers topics such as victimization, bullying, school conditions, fights, weapons, the presence of security staff at school, availability and student use of drugs and alcohol, student perceptions of personal safety at school, and criminal incidents at postsecondary institutions.

Educational Technology

According to a recent article published in Education Week, educational technology vendors are having a difficult time bringing their products to market through traditional channels in K to 12 marketplaces. Unlike textbooks and other purchases, education technology products are often faced with unique obstacles impeding the purchase process, such as a slow and bureaucratic procedure, and a lack of purchasing authority within the school system. The full text of this article can be found here.

Career and Technical Education (CTE)

Share this video to help broad audiences begin to understand the importance of preparation today for tomorrow’s labor market realities. Tags: career choices, CTE, career guidance, college and career ready.

Policy Initiatives

President Obama recently made his first Presidential trip to Indian Country, highlighting Federal efforts to strengthen Native American communities through education and economic development. The Administration is eager to partner with tribal nations to restructure and improve the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), which currently educates 48,000 students across 23 states and faces challenges due to school remoteness, difficulty attracting highly effective teachers and principals, lack of IT infrastructure, and compliance with varying state assessments across the 28 states. For more information, see the recently released Blueprint for Reform, which includes plans to further Native American oversight on education reforms, provide National Board Certification training to existing BIE instructional staff, and subsidize access to Internet and technology upgrades. More information can be found in this White House Press Fact Sheet and in the previously hyperlinked Blueprint.


PSA from Lebron James: In this flashback from a few years ago, NBA superstar Lebron James stars in a public service announcement aimed at combatting student dropout rates by encouraging young people to stay in school. James, supported by the U.S. Army and Ad Council, encourages viewers to renew their belief in our nation's students.

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