Recently, I was fortunate to attend the No Child Left out Conference led by Dr. Stephen G. Peters. It was at this conference where I got to hear Dick Allington's presentation on teaching kids to read. It was also this conference that inspired me to write An Open Letter about Courage to a New Administrator.
I was touched by Dr. Peters' statement as he started the opening keynote:
"Put your titles away today. Think about who we are from the heart and what we can do for kids."
Dr. Peters shared many reasons that contributed to a sense of urgency to help kids be successful in school. Here are some of the things he shared:
- Two out of three 8th graders can't read proficiently.
- Two out of three 8th graders scored below proficient in math.
- Seventy-five percent of students are not proficient in civics.
- Less than half of the American students finish college (46%). Where are they going to work? and what are they going to earn for their efforts?
- One out of four HS graduates are college ready in four core subjects.
- 1.1 million American students drop out of school every year.
- For African-american and Hispanic students across the country, dropout rates are close to 50% compared to the national average of 27%.
- Nearly half of those who employ recent HS graduates said overall preparation was "deficient."
- Sixty-two percent of HS dropouts are unmotivated to graduate. The other 38% are exactly the opposite.
- For the first time, most Americans think it is unlikely that today's youth will have a better life than their parents (Gallup, 2011).
- The health of a typical HS dropout by age 18 is comparable to the health of an educated person in their 40's.
Dr. Peters first told us to Do Something in his book, Do You Know Enough About Me to Teach Me? Recently, I heard the song called Do Something by Matthew West and I immediately thought of Dr. Peters and the students and teachers that I work with each day.
If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something
"No one rises to low expectations."
- Stephen G. Peters
What will you do today?