To the editor:
In the Oct. 4 J-W editorial regarding the dropout challenges facing our public schools, you explored the questions of how many dropouts we have; I hope you are equally curious about why kids are slipping through the cracks of our public schools.
As is true of most of the state, students drop out of the Lawrence public school system. At the same time, other students in the same school systems do well. There are reasons aside from classroom instruction that keep some children from achieving in school.
Providing services that effectively address those reasons is imperative. Those services range from in-depth tutoring to mentoring programs designed to give a child a one-on-one relationship with a strong adult role model to health care or nutrition assistance to get children ready to learn. While the Communities In Schools research-based approach of working with schools to provide tailored support for the needs of individual students has been recognized as uniquely effective at having an impact on outcomes for the whole school, we are not alone in providing effective services.
Reversing the dropout trend is critically important. Dropouts dominate the social service programs taxpayers finance. Kansas continually faces a shortage of adequately educated, skilled workers. Our prison population is dominated by dropouts. The costs to society and the individual are great.
Our state’s first Dropout Prevention Summit will take place Oct. 20 in Wichita. I urge anyone interested in exploring solutions to the dropout issue to attend. More information can be found at www.kansasdropins.org.