MEA, Doug Pratt, 517-337-5508
Kent Intermediate School District, Ron Koehler, 616-364-1333
MAISA, Jon Tomlanovich, 517-327-9260
Michigan’s Charter Schools, Gary Naeyaert, 517-374-9167
Michigan’s Children, Michele Corey, 517-485-3500
Mich., April 30, 2008 – Finding ways to fix Michigan’s dropout
crisis is the focus of public hearings beginning in May, part of
a statewide initiative to increase the number of high school
graduates to stabilize a weak economy.
By some estimates, about 20,000 Michigan students drop out of
school every year. According to Columbia University’s
prestigious Teachers College, boosting high school graduation
rates would save $127,000 per new graduate through extra tax
revenues, reduced costs of public health, crime and justice, and
decreased welfare payments. Every year that passes without a
solution to the dropout crisis drains another $2.5 billion from
local, state and national coffers.
The Michigan Education Association (MEA), in partnership with
several other groups, is sponsoring the hearings. Partners
include the Michigan Association of Intermediate School
Administrators (MAISA), Kent Intermediate School District,
Michigan’s Children, Michigan’s Charter Schools, Michigan’s
Promise and Michigan Future, Inc.
“Too many students are leaving school before graduating,” said
MEA President Iris K. Salters. “We need to work together to
understand the scope of the problem and to find sustainable
Local and intermediate school districts have struggled to
reverse the trend. No comprehensive state or national plan
exists to help schools boost graduation rates, despite the
significant impact on the economy and society.
“We’re hoping the hearings lead to meaningful reforms to help
end the dropout crisis,” Salters said. “One dropout is too many
– for our students, for our communities and for our state.”
The hearings are open to the public. Invited guests also will
provide testimony about how the dropout crisis affects the
economy, families and crime. The findings of these hearings will
be presented to political leaders and the public at the Michigan
Dropout Prevention Leadership Summit on Oct. 20 in Lansing.
"Addressing high school retention and increasing graduation
rates must become one of our highest priorities, and we look
forward to working with the MEA and other leaders in the
education community to gather 'best practices' from across the
state and bring them to Lansing," said Dan Quisenberry,
president of Michigan's Charter Schools.
Added Ron Koehler, assistant superintendent of the Kent
Intermediate School District: “If we don’t find a way to keep
young people in school, we’re sentencing them to a life of
poverty. We know what does not work – more of what we’ve been
doing. These hearings are about learning new ways to help kids
succeed and duplicating those efforts across the state.”
Hearings are planned in 10 communities. All hearings are
scheduled from 4 to 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted.
• May 8, Grand Rapids - Kent Career Technical Center, 1655 East
Beltline NE, Grand Rapids (4 to 6 p.m.).
• May 15, Macomb County - Macomb ISD, 44001 Garfield Road,
• May 22, Detroit - University Preparatory Academy, 600
• June 5, Lansing - Capital Area District Library, 401 S.
Capitol Ave., Lansing.
• June 12, Flint - Genesee ISD’s Davis Education Center, 2413 W.
Maple Ave., Flint.
• Sept. 4, Traverse City - Traverse Area District Library, 610
Woodmere Ave., Traverse City.
• Sept. 11, Ishpeming - Ishpeming High School, 319 E. Division
• Sept. 18, Western Wayne County - Wayne RESA, 33500 Van Born
• Sept. 25, Saginaw - Zauel Public Library, 3100 N. Center,
• Oct. 2, Kalamazoo - Western Michigan University, Fetzer
Center, 1903 Michigan Ave., Kalamazoo.
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