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Study: "Multiple Paths Approach" the Way to Keep Kids in Class?

December 2, 2008

Chicago, Illinois – The right mix of academic and career education may be what’s needed in Illinois to keep kids in high school, and help them transition to life after high school. A report released by the Great Lakes Center for Education and Research finds that if well-designed, a "multiple pathways" approach to high school reform is most-effective.

Study co-author Dr. Marisa Saunders, a research associate at UCLA’s Institute for Democracy, Education and Access, says connecting rigorous academics and real-world experiences keeps students interested.

“Really explore the issues of relevance and engagement, and how this could explore the issue of dropouts.”

Center Director Teri Battaglieri says the approach connects demanding academic preparation and technical knowledge to opportunities to learn from settings including the workplace.

“Students come out prepared to go to college, if that’s what they want to do, or they come out prepared to assume a job. But either way, they’ve had rigorous content.”

Battaglieri says a “one-size-fits-all” approach does not fit work when it comes to life after high school.

“A multiple pathways approach, in which the student is getting both academic and technical knowledge, makes things more relevant for high school students. Finally, they see some meaning.”

A recent study out of Northeastern University found that taxpayers lose $221,000 over the course of a lifetime for each Illinois student who drops out of school.

Mary Kuhlman/Steve Powers, Public News Service - IL