Plain Dealer Reporter Tom Ott took a deeper look into what Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson wants to see when he recently made a call for a more regional approach to education. The mayor said he wasn’t so much interested in consolidation as in increasing collaboration and sharing.
There are many things our region’s school districts could do differently to reduce costs and increase learning in the classroom. Down in Wayne County, one superintendent serves two separate school districts. Another approach that is being used to varying degrees throughout the region is the development of P-16 councils which bring together educators and other stakeholders to align education from the pre-school level all the way through college. The Stark Education Partnership has operated a P-16 council for 20 years and among its goals is to elevate high school graduation rates in Stark County to 100%.
In 2001 just two districts in the county had a graduation rate above 95%. By 2007, 12 districts had surpassed 95%. And the graduation rate in the Canton City schools went up to 73% from 58.8%.
Those results show what can happen when a county rallies behind the cause of education. What would the results be if our entire region rallied behind the cause?