Estimates place Columbia’s dropout rate at about 3 percent in 2011, close to the state average. Nationally, the U.S. Department of education places the dropout rate at around 3.4 percent in the school year ending in 2010.
So what’s being done to reduce these numbers? Intersection explored the factors that lead students to drop out of high school, and heard about what's being done in our community to change that.
Hosted by Ryan Famuliner.
Eryca Neville, principal, Douglass High School
Lorenzo Lawson, executive director, Youth Empowerment Zone
According to a report released by the Missouri Attorney General, black drivers were more likely than people of any other race to be stopped by Columbia Police. A coalition of groups recently convened the first in a series of public meetings designed to address the issue. But what steps could law enforcement agencies take to reduce the effects of bias? And how well might they work?
Noor Azizan-Gardner, interim chief diversity officer, University of Missouri
Ken Burton, chief, Columbia Police
Mary Ratliff, president of the Missouri and Columbia unit of the NAACP
Don Love, chairman, Missouri Association of Social Welfare Human Rights Task Force (joining the program by phone)
Maintaining a culturally diverse student and faculty population is a large concern for many colleges across the nation. The University of Missouri’s Diversity Office recently unveiled a campaign to encourage people to report charges of bias. But how successful are current efforts to promote diversity, here and across the nation?
Noor Azizan-Gardner, interim chief diversity officer for MU
Noel English, director of the MU Equity Office
Eric Woods, MU Student Body President
Karen Aroesti, regional director, Missouri/Southern Illinois office of the Anti-Defamation League (joining the program by phone)
In the early 1950s, cancerous cells were taken from a tumor that killed a young black woman and became the first human cells to be successfully kept alive and replicated outside the human body. That cell line, known as HeLa, went on to become one of the most important ingredients in medical research, leading to several important breakthroughs -- and generating large profits for biomedical companies. But the woman and her descendants had no idea any of this was happening.
The details of this true story are chronicled in this year's One Read book, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks." Our discussion focuses on the medical issues raised in the story, in particular how race, medicine, civil rights history and bioethics all come together in the book and in our world today.
For more information about this year's One Read events, click here.
Doyne McKenzie, collections manager, Daniel Boone Regional Library
Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, director of diversity and outreach initiatives, MU School of Medicine
It's time to rework the boundaries that outline the City Council districts in Columbia, thanks to uneven population growth across Columbia over the past 10 years. Panelists -- along with several members of the audience -- discuss the options that have been proposed and the implications of the different scenarios.
Kip Kendrick, president of Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association
Wiley Miller, Ward Reappointment Committee member (also former psychologist, MU Counseling Center)
Bob Pugh, chair of the Columbia ward reapportionment committee (also former Columbia mayor and current CEO of MBS Textbook Exchange)
Terry Smith, member of the Columbia ward reapportionment committee (also executive vice president and dean of academic affairs at Columbia College)
A persistent difference in test scores among students from various racial or socio-economic groups has become a central point in discussion about education nationwide. Columbia Public Schools Superintendent Chris Belcher says he wants the Columbia school district to be one of the first in the country to solve this problem of an "achievement gap," and he's reaching out to the community to improve student performance from outside the school walls. In this conversation, we look at what exactly needs fixing, and how Belcher and others believe the community can help.
Chris Belcher, superintendent, Columbia Public Schools
Steve Calloway, president, Minority Men’s Network
Sarah Horn, reporter, Columbia Missourian (joining the program by phone)
Nationwide -- and in Columbia -- there are significant disparities in test scores among students from various racial and socio-economic groups. But with more children growing up in poverty and with statewide cuts in funding for programslike Parents as Teachers, addressing this "achievement gap" is becoming more difficult. What does the achievement gap mean for us as a community? Why is it such a difficult thing to tackle? And what actually works in getting all students closer to the same level of academic proficiency?
Wanda Brown, assistant superintendent for secondary education, Columbia Public Schools
Sally Beth Lyon, chief academic officer, Columbia Public Schools
Joining the program by phone:
Chris Guinther, president, Missouri National Education Association
Cathy Koelher, president, Little Rock Classroom Teachers Association
Many residents of Columbia call our town an “oasis” – by that they seem to mean a more open-minded urban center in the middle of Missouri. But, how diverse are we really? Do we really mix with diverse groups or do we tend to “stick with our own”? Is whatever town we call home really welcoming for all kinds of people? Panelists and members of the community discuss these and other issues during a special live town-hall style Intersection program hosted at the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
Ibtisam Barakat, international author based in Columbia
Eduardo Crespi, director and founder of Centro Latino
Marie Glaze, human rights specialist for the City of Columbia
Nathan Stephens, director of the Gaines/Oldham Black Culture Center at MU
Roger Worthington, chief diversity officer at MU