Audience Member: So, let’s say you have a class full of 10th graders and all of them are in danger of dropping out of high school. They have discipline issues, are under-credited, disengaged, all of it. You have no cost restrictions – no amount of money is too much. There are no limitations – you can literally do anything you want. What would you do to keep these students in school and get them on the right track toward graduation?
This was the question posed to six students on a panel I was moderating at a dropout prevention summit in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago. Four students were in high school and two in college. I thought it was a great question; a question to promote dreaming; to generate the ideal with the obvious understanding that it would have to be trimmed back into something more real, something with real-world restrictions. But, just offering the chance to dream with “no holds barred” left me excited to hear what these young people would say.
Tear down the traditional school building and start over? Create programs that do X, Y, and Z? Change the time structure of the school day? Connect students to jobs? Make it more “fun”? Get rid of all the teachers (except for Mr./Ms./Mrs. (NAME HERE) who changed my life)? Scrap the boring curriculum and make it relevant to my life? Get an iPad in every student’s hands?
Nope. None of this.
Their answers were clear and consistent, and would cost next-to-nothing.
So, for the big question with no money restrictions, the prompt for these students to dream big about dropout prevention “no holds barred”, we get 1. relationships, 2. personal motivation, and 3. a sense of positive personal identity.