April 25th, 2012

WATCH: Solutions In Shelbyville -- A Dropout Remedy

In 2006, Shelbyville, Indiana became the face of America’s dropout crisis as part of a TIME Magazine cover story. At the time, their graduation rate was about 75 percent.

In the six years since, Shelbyville has launched a variety of dropout prevention strategies, including online credit recovery programs. Critics argue it’s not real learning — but proponents speak to the concept that every student learns differently, and when traditional models don’t work, we shouldn’t doom an adolescent’s future.

Producers John Tulenko and Mike Joseloff traveled to Shelbyville for this report for PBS NewsHour.

Download Transcript (PDF)

This program is made possible by the following funders:
Grade Level Reading Fund of the Tides Foundation, The Sergey Brin and Anne Wojcicki Foundation, The Wallace Foundation, and The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.


IndianaMelissa Lakes On Dropout Prevention

A full 40-minute interview with Melissa Lakes (featured in the piece above) about the Student Achievement Center in Shelbyville and various approaches to preventing dropping out. Listen and comment!

DiscussionThe Forum: Preventing Dropouts

How do we best prevent students from dropping out of school? The Forum convened several experts to discuss the topic. Join the discussion!

19911991 PBS Reporting: Preventing Dropouts

John Merrow did some reporting in 1991 on this same topic; it’s presented in three parts, all of which you can access at this link. Watch and join the discussion!

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Online learning brings 21st Century, individually tailored learning that ramps up both engagement and pace. It is a much faster way of learning. It works for all academic levels.

My own daughter has “dropped out” of her high level exam school to learn online because she felt bored and stifled in the classroom, and in its rigor, offered little academic choice. She was excelling, but very unhappy in most of her classes. She was given very little self determination, which I feel is key to learning how to live productively. This is true of most schools. Now, learning online, she is glowingly happy, learning a lot, has time for her other interests. She also loves her family again!

As a special educator in the upper elementary grades, this kind of learning is a huge move forward to give students the dignity, privacy, individualization and flexibility they need to thrive. It prevents them from having to hide in fear of embarrassment. This is especially true for low and non-readers.

Few teachers have what it takes to make a traditional classroom engaging to today’s students. It takes tremendous talent. I am in favor of this kind of blended learning, and the new opportunities it provides to make learning faster and more engaging. Watch as it make discipline problems vanish.

It’s weird seeing my friends on this.

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