Unfortunately, almost everyone has a friend that didn’t graduate from high school. Sometimes this person excels with tests but never does their homework, it could be that friend’s home life makes school incredibly difficult to get through, or there’s the friend who lands an awesome job programming and decides they don’t need school anymore. There are many reasons for dropping out but a common factor is a lack of an understanding of basic education ideas, like math for example. GE understands this and has responded to this with the introduction of the GE Foundation's Developing Futures in Education program.
With graduation rates still below 80% nationwide (the rate has increased from 75.5% in 2008-2009 to 78.2% in 2009-2010), and more jobs becoming reliant on a strong mathematical understanding, making sure that students understand math is an extremely important idea. A report from the Consortium for Policy Research in Education has found that math achievements have risen in districts that have utilized the program.
Kentucky, Ohio and Connecticut have all reported that student gains on standardized tests have risen over the last four years correspond with the introduction of the program. In Erie, Pennsylvania, student performance stabilized in the 2007-2008 school after experiencing a downward trend for a while.
"The goal was not to make a change to a single class or school, but to improve student achievement outcomes in entire districts," said Bob Corcoran, the president of the GE Foundation, based out of Fairfield, Conn.
Along with developing internal management capacity in school districts, the program helps create collaborative goals between the school board, teacher organizations and district leaders, while providing material for district science and mathematics initiatives. Since 2005, GE has given over $200 million to its program which develops and applies its own internal management to school districts.
With GE helping each school district develop their own plan for educational gains, districts are required to meet improvement standards that they set for themselves. In order to qualify for the GE grant, each district must undergo quarterly assessments to track their progress. The program is operational in seven districts across the nation that house a large number of GE employees. With this program in effect, maybe that friend/high drop-out-rates will be a thing of the past.