United Way Works To End America’s Education Crisis
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
In 2008, United Way worldwide launched a 10-year initiative to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. It’s an ambitious goal, but by utilizing our core strengths — a national network, committed partners and public engagement capacity — we can achieve it. Locally, great strides have been made by United Way and our partners to decrease high school dropout rates in Comanche County, OK. In 2015, Comanche County had 1.2% less high school drop outs than the state average.2
Ten years ago the United Way Board of Directors decided to fund a local Success By 6 chapter in Comanche County to help the unmet need of early childhood education. Through Success By 6 barriers that have kept children from being ready for school in the past are being eliminated through 8 active programs. The effectiveness of Success By 6 is shown by reviewing the 3rd grade reading scores (the first time Oklahoma students are tested for reading proficiency) that continually show marked improvement well above the state average.3
In 2015, United Way of Southwest Oklahoma and several community partners met together with Lawton Public Schools to build the idea of Career Pathways. Today, the Career Pathway's initiative is in all middle and high schools in the Lawton Public School System.
We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education from birth to career.
2016 Education Programs funded by United Way of Southwest Oklahoma
Armed Services YMCA Childcare Program
Boy Scouts of America, Last Frontier Council
Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma
Family Promise of Lawton, Inc. Case Management Program
Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club After School Program
Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club Summer Program
Success By 6
1Figure according to Communities in Schools, one of America’s leading drop-out prevention partnerships.
2Kids Count Data
3Kids Count Data