The drop-out rate in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has become a part of a large national crisis in public education. As a result, Charlotte-Mecklenburg is looking beyond the “Here” and “Now” and finding new ways to solve this growing problem. They have taken a visionary look at technology, effective teaching, global citizenship, and environmental management with the belief that in order to solve this growing problem the classroom of the future must be a place of learning without limits.
Research results indicate that 9,709 students entered 8th grade in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools fall, 2009, but trends suggest that only two-thirds of those students will graduate, and about 3,000 of those will not make it to the 12th grade. Even more disturbing, the numbers indicate that one in three students in the United States do not finish high school. Charlotte-Mecklenburg claim this failure is due to the, “millions of lost dollars and an unknown number of missed opportunities.” (Strategic Plan, 2014)
However, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools ascertain that dropout rates will decline as technological advancements are used to help create a larger pool of resources to include learning at new levels that will be within every student’s reach regardless of ability. For example, technology can be used to link students with teachers who will challenge them, and will provide struggling students with the tutoring needed and provide, for example, “high fliers” to study advanced Chinese or a second year of physics.
In addition teachers will become highly effective because they will have access to real-time data on students thereby enabling teachers to understand when students need more attention and will let them know what instructions are being mastered. Boundaries between classrooms, subjects, grades and school levels will gradually fade as teachers collaborate on how best to organize learning and align instruction with student needs, preferences and interests (Strategic Plan, 2014).
Charlotte-Mecklenburg foresee the advantages of using less formal instruction through extracurricular and after school activities that will provide opportunities to help themselves and others in the school, at home, and around the world. Charlotte-Mecklenburg insist they will also “meet rigorous standards of environmental management, so that recycling and wise use of resources are part of the daily landscape.”
It becomes apparent after reading Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Strategic Plan 2014, Charlotte-Mecklenburg is committed to improving learning and reducing drop-out rates by the use of technology, great teaching, support for struggling students, resource conservation, diversity and global citizenship, but concedes, maybe it will not happen overnight, but are confident that eventually this will become fixtures in all classrooms in the future.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg County Schools, Strategic Plan, 2014