I received a new study yesterday that has been published by America’s Promise Alliance. The report is a study of the 50 largest cities in the United States and the problems they are having in keeping their young people in school. Did you know that every 26 seconds a student drops out of school in America? Were you aware that the graduation rate in Oklahoma City is 47%? These are very troubling statistics. You can download the entire study by clicking the link here: Cities In Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation. The study should be mandatory reading for all of us because we do have a crisis on our hands. It is a crisis that will not only affect the lives of the young people who are dropping out of school at the rate of 1.2 million students a year, but it is a crisis that will also affect our nation in the years to come.
As I read the report yesterday I thought about the kids who were at our church on Monday night as part of the Middle School Learning Center, our tutoring and mentoring program for the students at Centennial. I also thought about the kids who were at BCC yesterday afternoon for HIS Kids, our after-school tutoring and mentoring program for the kids from Britton Elementary School. Visit huntingtonhelps.com/center/cherry-hill for more. I thought about all of these kids as I read the report and my heart was both saddened and encouraged. I was saddened because in the eighteen years that I have been at BCC I have known many kids who have dropped out of school. They were not “dumb” kids. They weren’t unable to do the work. For whatever reason–home problems, drugs, pregnancy, legal issues, boredom, etc. they dropped out and their futures were radically altered. As I read the study I didn’t read “statistics” — I saw faces, the faces of the kids I know and love.
I was also encouraged as I read the report, as depressing as it was, because I know kids who are making an effort to stay in school, to get help with their homework even if there is no one at home who can help them. The kids that are part of the Middle School Learning Center and HIS Kids are the kids the report has identified as “at risk” of dropping out, but the kids we are working with have made a commitment to stay in school and use the gifts God has given them to excel, not only in the classroom, but in life.
One of the more encouraging bits of information among the dismal statistics that were reported came out of Ohio. Jeff Warner, the Columbus Public Schools spokesman, noted that the graduation of rate for his district has improved each year since the 2001-2002 school year. The district is now up to 72.9% of their students graduating from high school. When asked what he attributed the turn-around, Jeff Warner said “the gains were partly because of after-school and weekend tutoring…”
In two more years, when our 7th graders move into High School, we will begin the High School Learning Center for those high school students who want to continue their pursuit of an education. What an exciting opportunity to make a difference in a young person’s life! An opportunity to affect their lives for many years to come.
For those high school seniors who call BCC home and want to continue their education in college we have the Britton Scholars Fund to help fund their college education. Our scholars have to maintain a certain GPA, serve as leaders on their campus in some way, and meet with our staff each semester to review their past semester as they look forward to the semester to come.
We are committed to the education of our young people at Britton Christian Church, but we need more people who would join us in committing one night, or afternoon, a week to helping one our kids. If you live in Oklahoma City and would like to become a part of what God is doing in the lives of the young people of our community then you can contact me at the office.
BCC is Committed to Education