From Losers to Leaders: Thinking Differently About At-Risk Students

Jason Education

“I guess I’m a loser,” 16-year old Michael told me when I asked why he was going to drop out, “and school is a waste of time.” Needless to say I was disturbed by his decision, but even more so by his self-assessment of being a loser. I shared with him my own experiences in high school and the fact that I too had failed, but then turned it around and became a leader. “I’m no leader,” he retorted and soon after dropped out. That got me thinking about the potential role of leadership development for at-risk youth. I concluded …

A Dropout’s Guide to Education Reform

Jason Education

It’s a telling commentary about education reform that just about everyone has been given a forum about ways to address the appalling dropout rate afflicting public schools in this country except the dropouts themselves. I say this unabashedly because I was an urban high school dropout myself, and after much research on the subject, I can tell you first-hand why it happens and how to fix it. Charter schools, vouchers, smaller class sizes, and standardized testing are definitely not the answer as they will not make real, systemic change. Until reformers start listening to the students who dropped out or …