Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success, but our country faces a crisis with more than 1.2 million children dropping out of school each year. Residents of the tri-county have identified this as a critical issue locally too. We read troubling facts and figures in the newspaper confirming that too many of our students are not succeeding in school.
Directed by community conversations and our Strategic Plan (PDF), Capital Area United Way has identified increasing the high school graduation rate as one of three action areas to tackle in our community. We can’t focus on high school alone – dropouts are 12 years in the making. Our strategy includes:
- Readying children to start kindergarten
- Helping students stay in school and succeed
Over the late summer and fall of 2012 United Way will bring community members together to assess the work currently carried out with our youngest children, birth to 5 years old, working with them and their parents and care givers to get them ready to start school. Secondly the work of keeping students engaged with learning in middle and high school will be assessed. Representatives from business, government, education, parent, and faith-based groups will be called to the table to plan strategies to be used over the next five years, setting out measures of change in order to report and evaluate success.
Donors concerned about the success of our youth may direct their gifts to the Student Achievement action area and register to receive eNews updates on progress readying young children to start school and keeping students engaged with school and successful – both resulting in increased graduation rates over time.
- 1 in 4 students in Ingham County didn’t graduate from high school in 2012 and 2013.
- 2,002 high school students did not graduate between 2010-2012.
- High school students in Ingham County taking the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in 2012 had a proficiency rate of 31.8% – 68.2% were not proficient in math; and a proficiency rate of 57.8% - 42.2 % were not proficient in reading.
- High school students in Eaton County taking the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in 2012 had a proficiency rate of 23.2 – 76.8% were not proficient in math; and a proficiency rate of 55.6% - 44.4 % were not proficient in reading.
- High school students in Clinton County taking the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in 2012 had a proficiency rate of 35.2 – 64.8% were not proficient in math; and a proficiency rate of 63.75% - 36.2 % were not proficient in reading.
- High school students in the tri-county taking the Michigan Merit Exam (MME) in 2012 had an average proficiency rate of 30% – 70% did not meet the proficiency standard in math; and a proficiency rate of 59% – 41 % did not meet the proficiency standard in reading
- The first five years are the most influential for getting a child ready to start school.
- For the youngest of children, there’s a relationship between being ready to start school and their families’ income levels – children living in the poorest of homes are at risk when it comes to starting school ready to learn.
- 2 of every three eighth graders taking the MEAP test in 2012 lacked math proficiency.
- 66% of fourth graders were reading below the proficient level in 2013. That is a slight improvement from 2007, when the figure was 68%
Click HERE to read the Executive Summary of the plan for early learning and development in Michigan.
Click HERE to view a video from Peter Pratt of Public Policy Consultants on the Great Start Forum.