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AMERICAN GRADUATE: Jacksonville University's Dr. Donnie Horner

89.9 WJCT is participating in the American Graduate project supported by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.  The goal of American Graduate is to reverse the national drop out crisis by identifying and then addressing the factors that cause students to leave school early.

"I'm Dr. Donnie Horner, and I’m the former City of Jacksonville Education Commissioner for Mayor Alvin Brown, delighted to be back home at JU after a two year hiatus with the mayor."

"What we know about dropouts in general is that it’s not something that happens in 9th, 10th, 11th grade.  It manifests then, that’s when we see it, but the literature that I’ve seen and the experts I’ve worked with and we’ve worked with here in the city says that dropout intervention needs to start really early." 

"We’re talking 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th grades.  Because kids for some reason don’t see the efficacy, they don’t see the connections.  And so, if they come from households where mom and dad are not reinforcing that, the challenge begins there."

"So we all have a role to play: Parents have to be engaged. You’re sitting around the dinner table, a good place to start all this conversation is having dinner together.  Help review homework with the child.  Eliminate distractions."

"So with an engaged parental relationship with kids, if you multiply that and sort of aggregate that, then you have an engaged community."

"In the classroom, it’s all about the teachers: great teachers in great schools with great assets."

"And then better funding.  You know there is a certain degree of relationship between more resources and better results, let’s not kid ourselves."

"I don’t think it’s unfair to say that to build an informed, educated citizenry, we all have to do something."

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.