By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In Iva, South Carolina, in a yellow school bus, eight 11th graders face an 8’ by 8’ replica of a prison cell, and listen to Chet Pennock tell them why they need to stay in school. The cell contains a bed, toilet and water fountain and usually houses 4 people.
He explains that 3:30am is wake-up time in jail, work begins at 7am and lights out at 10pm and reminds them that 75 percent of inmates nationwide are high school dropouts.
Additionally, Devon Smith, principal of Cresent High School, has instituted detention time for students to complete projects and do homework. Talking with potential dropouts takes most of his time.
Statistics show that during the school year 2011-12 the number of dropouts fell to 14 from 33 in 2007-2008. After watching interviews of prisoners on the bus, one student said, “It makes you do the rIght thing.”
Read about this dropout initiative in Education Week.