CNS – Getting an education is the key to success, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa told students from the UCLA Institute for Democracy, Education and Access.
Students from the program spent the day at City Hall, discussing the reasons why students fail to graduate.
Villaraigosa told the students not to follow his example. As a youth, Villaraigosa was a high school dropout. He later graduated from Roosevelt High School, and finished UCLA and law school.
“Let me tell you the world that opens up to you when you have an education. My mother used to say they can take everything away from you but they can’t take away your education,” Villaraigosa said.
It is difficult to address the issue of high school dropouts because the Los Angeles Unified School District does not track how many students fail to graduate from high school, Villaraigosa said.
The school board, which is now headed by Villaraigosa ally Monica Garcia, is “absolutely committed to addressing this dropout rate,” he said.
The district plans to unveil its Dropout Prevention and Recovery Program on Sept. 12, according to the district’s Nadia Gonzalez. The program will allow counselors to identify which students are most likely to drop out, and develop a plan to stay in school.
District officials could not say what the current dropout rate is. Last year, school officials estimated 70 percent of students were graduating, while a study by the Civil Rights Project at Harvard University said only 45 percent of students in LAUSD schools were completing their educations.