Waking Up is Hard to Do

By Christina Jones 09.27.2012 blog

Even though most of us are back at school by now, we maybe haven’t completely gotten our minds into back-to-school mode. And yes, sometimes you want to blame summer for too much time to relax, to kick back, and to gauge your focus away from all-things-school. But skipping class is obviously not the solution. And while students acknowledge this, some of them do it anyway. But there?s a new motive that is encouraging 30 thousand at-risk US students to stay in school using the power of pop-culture, social media, and celebrity.

The Get Schooled Foundation is a non-profit supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Their goal? To wake you up! The organization is letting students sign up online at GetSchooled.com and select the celebrity of their choice to call their cell phones in the morning to encourage them to attend school that day. Some of celebrities include Tyra Banks, Nicki Minaj, Victoria Justice, and Jesse McCartney, to name a few.

In the U.S., up to 7.5 million students (more than the entire student population in the state of California) miss 20 days or more of school a year, according to a May 2012 Johns Hopkins University study.

The Foundation and Hart Research also released a poll of 13-18-year-olds, which revealed some of the reasons why students skip school. What are they?

50% of students in the poll say they skip school because it?s boring, and 44% say they?d rather spend time with friends. And when they skip school 65% of students say they?re hanging out with friends, while 28% say they?re just home watching TV or surfing the Internet.

Missing school is one of the primary indicators of low graduation and high dropout rates. Absenteeism is multiplying in schools, with some schools having as much as 40% of their students missing a month or more of school each year, and oftentimes these are the students who will not go on to graduate.

Virginia and Alabama are taking steps to address the problem. They?ve set up automated systems that look at warning signs, like frequent absences, to identify students who are at a greater risk of dropping out. And then, there are non-profit organizations such as Get Schooled and Attendance Works that lobby for data collection on student attendance and are trying to get students motivated to go to school.

I used to think it was kind of difficult to go to school too, but I always try to live by Nike?s slogan, ?Just Do It,? and honestly I never missed a day of high school without a few exceptions for sick days. For more information on the poll or to register for a wake up call, go here!

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