Deadline Now: Education and Graduation Initiatives in Toledo - Part 1
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Deadline Now: Education and Graduation Initiatives in Toledo - Part 1

Education and Graduation Initiatives in Toledo

Friday, October 14, 2011

Dr. Romules Durant, Assistant Superintendent for Toledo Public Schools (TPS), James Gault, Chief Academic Officer for TPS and Greg Braylock, Education Specialist for United Way of Greater Toledo are this week's guests. TPS, United Way of Greater Toledo and WGTE are among the community partners working to build awareness of and create solutions to the drop-out crisis in our area.

Toledo Public Schools, United Way of Greater Toledo and WGTE are currently deploying initiatives aimed at increasing community involvement and educational stewardship.  The launch of the "Schools as Hubs" initiative is an effort to battle the drop out crisis by organizing community resources around student success, with an integrated focus on academics and services to lead to improved student learning, stronger families and healthier communities.  

WGTE wants to hear from you, our community, to encourage discussion and bring awareness to this effort.  Please take a moment to share your reflections on the following questions:

  • What actions can community members take to identify, and implement, solutions which address the high school drop out crisis?
  • What can community members do to ensure the Schools as Hubs initiative is successful?

Join the discussion. Please post your comments below.

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This program is part of American Graduate: Let’s Make It Happen, a public media initiative made possible by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Here are Jack Lessenberry's Final Thoughts for this edition of Deadline Now:

In today’s world, even a college degree is sometimes not enough to guarantee a young person a job, let alone and a smooth career path. But without a high school degree, nobody in the twenty-first century has any real shot at a fulfilling job.

Which makes it all that much more urgent and crucial that we do something about the dropout rate. Now, if you are a mature adult you may be baffled that anybody would voluntarily drop out of high school. But teenagers don’t always have the wisdom they need.

And in many cases, they don’t have the necessary support at home they need to get through school. Now if you don’t think this concerns all of us, you are dead wrong. I don’t know how any of us can feel secure in a world where there is a steadily growing underclass of unemployable people who feel alienated from society.

That’s in part why the foundation started by the richest man in the world -- Microsoft’s Bill Gates -- has partnered with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the America’s Promise Alliance to try and do something about it.

They’ve launched an initiative called American Graduate -- Make it Happen -- to try to do something about the dropout crisis in this country. Locally, United Way of Greater Toledo has been leading the way in an initiative designed to turn public schools into community hubs -- in other words, neighborhood centers.

The idea is to help build community centers that are welcoming places for the whole neighborhood to come to, not just prison-like structures  where kids are confined from eight to three every weekday, whether they are learning anything or not.

Students could come there for enriched educational experiences and other extra-curricular activities. But parents and other adults could also come for a wide assortment of reasons, from interacting with their kids’ education to medical and dental services.

Where this has been tried elsewhere, it has clearly led to improved student learning, healthier families and stronger communities. Naturally, there will be those who have doubts.

But there is no doubt that what we have now isn’t working -- and anything with a reasonable chance of success may deserve a try. Once again, it is not only our children’s futures that are depending on it, but our own, as a society and a nation.