We’ve heard that this city is tired of our children dropping out of school. I’m the only candidate that knows what it’s like in public schools in our worst neighborhoods. My friend and I used to walk home from school down different streets growing up. Because I came across some good influences, and he came across some bad ones, I went to Stanford, while he dropped out of school and is now sadly no longer with us. That happens in our neighborhoods every day. Only 50 percent of our students graduate from high school within 4 years – the lowest rate among any comparable city in the US. That’s sad, and that’s unacceptable.
What have we done about it? Not much. Rather than address the root causes of the problem – instability at home, poor school performance in early years, lack of engagement of our students – we’ve argued about who’s running our schools..
That’s the wrong way to think about education, and the wrong way to make sure more of our students graduate from high school. When I’m Mayor, I’ll get us on a path to halve our high school dropout rate within a decade – not by taking over the school system, but by making education family oriented and a 24-hour responsibility of our city and community. I will make sure every single child in the city is enrolled in an after-school program; that every single school offers wraparound services to students and their families; and that we supplement traditional curriculum with opportunities to learn skills in data, technology, and other industries where the jobs of the future lay. That’s the only way we can make sure our children stay out of trouble, our families are healthy, and our adults have the right skills.