Close to one quarter of American high school students drop out before graduation. In Oakland, California, the dropout rate is higher at 35 percent. Last month, Northern California’s KQED hosted it’s first American Teacher Town Hall at Laney College in Oakland. Educators came from across the Bay Area to discuss these high dropout rates and the state of education in their communities – in California and across the nation.
StoryCorps San Francisco was also there to highlight the work we’ve done, locally and nationally with the National Teachers Initiative. For the past year, the National Teachers Initiative has supported the work of teachers nationwide by recording and preserving their stories and broadcasting them on NPR’s Weekend Edition. StoryCorps also supports the American Graduate Initiative by recording stories with public media hubs in communities where the dropout crisis is most acute.
At our table, current and former teachers and students listened to stories we recorded with teachers, including Antero Garcia and Roger Alvarez, Sarah Benko and Meliza Arellano, and Ayodeji Ogunniyi. Town Hall participants also wrote messages of thanks to teachers who have inspired them. (Below are just a handful of those notes.)
Do you have a favorite teacher? Thank them in the comments below!