Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Promoting first day of school attendance

As the summer comes to a close (it's August already?!?), parents, kids, and teachers have their thoughts resting on going back to school. As I mentioned in my blog post about the Kanye West Foundation, the issue of students dropping out is as prevalent as ever, with 50% of CPS students dropping out before High School Graduation. Of course, the first step to not dropping out is actually attending the first day of school.

Motivating students to come to school and stay is never easy. That's why I was happy to hear that newly-minted Chicago bred music star, Jeremih of "Birthday Sex" fame was using the power of Twitter to help promote the first day of school. Now, I'll admit that the song Birthday Sex is misogynistic and promotes premarital sex. I also take the attitude that CPS superindtendant Ron Huberman takes when he's quoted in a Chicago Sun-Times Article, "“We don’t condone any behavior we think is not healthy for our students. . . . But, he’s a great role model for our kids. He graduated from high school. He went on to school for engineering. He’s staying in school. That’s the message. This is part of what will be a continuing strategy to reach kids the way they communicate with each other.”

Lyrics of "Birthday Sex" withstanding, Jeremih is a great role model. He graduated at 16 from Morgan Park High School, attended the University of Illinois to study engineering, before transferring to Columbia College-Chicago to study music. He is also using his fame in a positive way by reaching out to his 70,000 followers on Twitter. Therefore, I have to commend Jeremih for using his influence for good and hopefully students will follow his example by attending the first day of school and be compelled to graduate form high school and attend college, just like he did.

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