Dropout prevention worthy investment

Resource type: News

San Antonio Express-News |

If the high school dropout rate continues at current levels, the state will be in serious trouble in the not so distant future as an uneducated workforce grows.

The estimated number of Texas students at risk of not graduating exceeds two million.

Those two million students should be offered help now, not later in life when they need job training to support themselves.

Communities in Schools is working to tackle the problem, but the organization’s effort is limited by its budget.

CIS has a long waiting list of campuses that want its services, and it easy to see why.

The agency has a proven track record that has been recently validated by an independent evaluation requested by the Texas Legislature and commissioned by the Texas Education Agency.

While many groups tout their efforts in combating the state’s growing high school dropout problem, Communities in Schools’ work is showing documented positive results.

The study by ICF International found the agency is implementing many of the practices identified by education experts to reduce dropout rates.

Those practices include identifying the students most at risk of dropping out, providing an adult role model for students and providing services that help students concentrate on learning and teachers focus on teaching.

Communities in Schools’ practice of providing schools with a staff member to work individually with students was also favorably noted in the report.

Communities in Schools has 28 programs across the state including one in Bexar County, which serves about 7,000 students in 60 schools in several school districts.

The high school dropout problem is not new, and it will take an aggressive assault on multiple levels to solve it.

The funding for Communities in Schools comes from the state and federal government, school districts, United Way and corporate donations.

Like many non-profits that rely on the community’s generosity Communities in Schools is fearful of the impact the weakened economy will have on its operations.

Already the agency is getting letters from foundations that they may be eliminating or reducing their funding for the next year.

Communities in Schools receives $20.6 million annually from the state and is asking the Legislature to increase it to $30 million so they can go into more schools, hire more case managers and spend more time with each student.

This is a worthwhile endeavor that deserves continued support from state lawmakers and community donors.

And it is an investment in the future that will benefit the students served, the communities in which they live and the state’s economy.

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Issues:

Children & Youth

Global Impact:

United States

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Dropouts