Monday, July 27, 2009

The Kanye West Foundation - Combatting the Drop-Out Crisis

Last night, as I was winding down from a busy of weekend of marathon-training and neighborhood festivals, I was flipping through the channels and came across a concert with the world-renowned hip hop artist Kanye West. While I decided to stay with the concert because I enjoy his music, I was thrilled to realize that this concert was at the Chicago Theater and was exclusively for Chicago Public School students. You can view clips from the concert here.

Anyway, the concert was in conjunction with the Kanye West Foundation, which according to the Foundation's Website, "is to help combat the severe dropout problem in schools across the United States by partnering with community organizations to provide under-served youth access to music production programs that will enable them to unleash their creative ability and reach their full potential."

This is a wonderful and timely cause. In many public school systems, such as the Chicago Public Schools System, the drop-out rate for high school students can be as high as 50%. Many of these students are minorities, usually African-American or Latino Students. If you read my blog and Dan Bassill's blog, we have both written articles about the drop crisis. (For mine go here, for Dan's go here). What many studies show is that students who drop-out of high school are less likely to have a career, and more likely to end up pregnant at young age, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, and in jail at some point.

An interesting article that explores the reasons why students drop out of high school and other aspects of the drop out crisis, that was published fairly recently, go to "The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Drop-Outs,"a study conducted by John B. Bridgeland, John DiIulio, Jr., and Karen Burke Morison and reported Civic Enterprises, and the Peter D. Hart Association for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. One of the main reasons high school drop-outs give for dropping out is lack of interest in their schoolwork. With the inaugural program of the Kanye West Foundation, "Loop Dreams," where "hip hop as a vehicle to teach participants hands on music productions skills, expose them to hip hop dance and art, and teach them important soft skills like time management, communication, commitment, responsibility, and commitment," the Kanye West Foundation is on the right track to finding creative solutions to an extremely pressing issue.

Hopefully, Cabrini Connections, Tutor/Mentor Connection will be able to work with the Kanye West Foundation in some capacity to help kids stay in school. However we end up collaborating, I want to comment Mr. West and his foundation for doing something innovative and concrete to help kids stay in school.

1 comment:

Bradley said...

I was there! I would love for us to work with his foundation in some capacity.