Boston’s program to lure dropouts back to school is weak on follow-through, reports the Boston Globe. Sylvester Cooper was enrolled in a school 90 minutes from his home, so he didn’t attend. Then he was transferred to a closer school that promised to keep tabs on him, but didn’t. He was allowed to cut class without consequences. His mentor didn’t contact him for months. His grandmother, who’s raised him since his mother abandoned him as an infant, says she didn’t hear from the school about his absences.
With less than three months left in the school year, Cooper’s future remains in limbo. He is neither in nor out of school. He drops in only when he wants to.
He says he still wants to go to college and perhaps study criminal justice, but realizes he has made no progress toward that goal this year.
(Emmanuel) Allen, even as he’s trying to stay on Cooper and other returning dropouts, is getting ready to locate more than 1,000 students who have dropped out this school year — and persuade them to re-enroll. He sets a modest threshold for success with Cooper:
“If he decides to blow this year, fine,” Allen said. “There is no deadline. To me, a win is if he’s not shot and if he’s not locked up. As long as he’s able to make a decision, I’ll call him.”
At the age of 16, Cooper has spent two years semi-enrolled in ninth grade with no credits to show for it. An above-average student in elementary school, he stopped trying in middle school but was passed along despite his F’s.
What’s the point of persuading dropouts to return to school if they’re allowed to blow off an entire year?