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From Dropout to Diploma: Reengaging and Reenrolling High School Dropouts to Transform Colorado’s Workforce. Sunny Dey é Public Priorities for the 21st Century, PSC 5374 Policy Recommendation Prepared for Colorado Governor and U.S. Senate Candidates May 9, 2010. State Policy Environment.
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Public Priorities for the 21st Century, PSC 5374
Policy Recommendation Prepared for Colorado Governor and U.S. Senate Candidates
May 9, 2010
While ongoing programs are seeing positive effects (see the March 2010 Policy Report to the Joint Education Committee), there exists a gap in policy with regard to reenrolling students who have already dropped out.
The state’s needs for an educated, well-prepared workforce demand that these students be brought back into the system and provided with necessary support to graduate with a high school diploma
Research indicates that high school dropouts eventually want to earn a diploma and that they will work hard to get it.
Successful dropout recovery programs are flexible with regard to “seat time” - the hours and times of day students are required to be seated in a classroom to meet state attendance requirements and qualify for state education funding dollars.
The state is well on its way toward standards-based reform with the Preschool to Postsecondary Alignment Act and is well-positioned to dramatically rethink the traditional high school model.
Eliminating seat time requirements altogether cuts to the heart of two problems:
A student who fails a class is unlikely to repeat the class (same teacher, books, environment) and somehow magically pass it the second time;
Seat time requirements are especially problematic for dropout recovery programs where students often work during the day and take classes either during the evening or weekends, or even online.
Colorado students should be able to earn credit based on proficiency rather than seat time.
The Colorado Promise was Governor Bill Ritter’s campaign platform in 2006, stated as “the promise to our children and our grandchildren that we will leave them a better Colorado. It’s the promise that Colorado reaches its fullest potential. It’s the promise of a brighter Colorado in the 21st century.”
The Colorado Promise emphasizes improving the state education system and stimulating Colorado’s economy to attract new jobs.
Colorado has made great strides, and now must turn its attention to young adults who have dropped out and who want to drop back in – to earn a high school diploma, to become contributing citizens of Colorado, and to ensure that the state has the workforce necessary to compete in the 21st century economy.