Good to see the media took notice—big time!—of yesterday’s dropout report from Education Trust. The organization counted 246 stories across the country! FYI for others seeking to get the media’s attention. Work on salient, timely issues. Dropouts are very much a part of the “news climate” and journalists are sensitive to that. Be bold and name names. And generate state-specific data.
Note to journalists: now that those numbers are out there, don’t let the story disappear. Find kids who have dropped out and ask them why. Find “at-risk” kids who are still in school and ask them why. Look at the “transfer” numbers and try to find those kids at the schools they allegedly moved to. Look at the adult schools. Lots of kids are reported by schools to be attending night school. But, in fact, many of them aren’t. It’s often not possible for privacy reasons to get the school districts to give you rosters of kids who have dropped out. (But those who are in school will lead you to others.) You should, however, be able to get information on the number of kids who transferred to other schools in the district and you should be able to check that out.
Guestblogger Richard Lee Colvin, Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, Teachers College, Columbia University