Dropping out of school is not an event – it is a process

There is no such thing as a high school dropout.  I have never met a high school student who has said, “I’m in high school now.  It’s time to leave.”

According to a new report from the Annie. E. Casey Foundation, the process begins by the end of the 3rd grade.  (According to a longitudinal study from the University of Arizona, it begins in kindergarten).  If we wish to reduce the number of dropouts we need to increase the number who can read proficiently by the time they are in 4th grade.  However, recent test scores on the National Assessment of Progress  two-thirds of all 4th graders are reading below that level.

I believe that the easiest way to raise reading proficiency is to build immediate safety nets into elementary schools.  The minute teachers and elementary administrators see that children are reading below basic proficiency levels, they need to mandate, Saturday reading classes or mandatory Summer Schools.

Another thing they can do is to find ways to lower school absenteeism which is the primary early warning that children will dropout.

Parents need to be brought into the paradigm shift by having their children read to them at every opportunity.