Michelle Rhee: Partnering with City Year DC to Tackle Dropout "Catastrophe"

Michelle Rhee: Partnering with City Year DC to Tackle Dropout "Catastrophe"

DC's public school system has 45,000 students and an abysmal dropout rate of about 50%, typical of large cities. With a goal to remedy this dropout "catastrophe" (Gen. Colin Powell's term), while being constrained by a tight economy, DC Chancellor Michelle Rhee is looking to- in her words - "leverage opportunities for the greatest change."

To this end, Rhee believes that one of the best investments that DC Public Schools (DCPS) has made in the past year is its partnership with City Year DC. In 2008/09, City Year corps members proved themselves in a pilot program in 4 of the Washington's most challenging elementary schools.

Jeff Franco, Executive Director of City Year DC explained that "we offered to help the Chancellor to solve her worst headaches." After rigorous training, corps members coached, tutored, and mentored children in grades K - 2, and successfully demonstrated that they could help improve children's reading ability. This achievement will be instrumental in changing the life trajectory of these kids - ultimately increasing the likelihood that they will graduate from high school, go to college, and later, earn greater incomes.


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