DETROIT, May 27, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Schools in Detroit are at the very bottom of the industrialized world, where 96% of students are likely to fail! One Detroit educator is now calling on the community to transform Detroit into a nationwide leader for education reform through a Kickstarter campaign, SOAR with Detroit: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skills/help-detroit-students-soar
In Detroit, students have only a 4% chance of success1. Detroit is the worst-performing city, in the worst-performing country in the world2. Detroit is at the bottom of the bottom.
But, what if Detroit could become a nationwide leader for education reform?
It's been done before. In 1896, in the slums of Rome, one woman transformed children labeled "uneducable" into top-performing students. If it could be done in the slums of Rome, it can be done in Detroit!
Susan Kruger, M.Ed., author of the worldwide best-selling book, SOAR Study Skills, is leading the charge to transform education in Detroit, just as Dr. Montessori did in Rome. Susan explains, "Growing up, school was a serious struggle for me; I felt stupid! But, my life changed when I learned study skills. I went from struggling in K-12 to soaring in college with straight A's."
Kruger has been teaching these skills to students for over 20 years. Her curriculum is proven to raise GPAs by an average of one full point. It is in 3500 schools across the country and 19 countries, worldwide. "But I want to see my hometown of Detroit, SOAR!" says Kruger.
The answer is not "more education." A report published in March by Educational Testing Services (ETS) out of Princeton, NJ says today's millennials are the most highly educated group in the history of the United States, yet they perform at the bottom of the world!3
This answer is not STEM. STEM programs are great! But, if students don't know how to learn, they won't help.
ETS says the answer is with skills! Students need skills for: learning how to learn, organizing, prioritizing, communicating, and problem-solving.
"These skills are the greatest leverage point we have for improving education and our workforce," says Kruger. In school, these skills are known as "study skills" and they transform students into success. In the workplace, they are known as "soft skills" and they are the most in-demand skills from employers.
The Detroit Skills Gap Report4, published by JPMorgan Chase in April, says "soft skills are the most influential factor in hiring decisions by local employers, even above technical skills…"
The Detroit Education Coalition set a goal of "150 great schools in 15 years," but Kruger believes this can be done in five years if the right skills are taught. She says it can be done by following Montessori's principles, emphasizing strengths and teaching skills.
Sylvia Sturgis, a 6th Grade Soft Skills Teacher at the International Technology Academy in nearby Pontiac, MI, (demographics similar to Detroit) talked with Kruger about her experience teaching soft skills to students. "Soft skills are very important. [Our students] are self-led and we do a lot of project-based learning so the teachers are just the facilitator, almost like a Fortune 500 company where you're asked to work in a team and produce a project," says Sturgis.
Sturgis was a successful business professional before becoming a teacher. She uses her past experience to stress the importance soft skills to her students. Recently, she reflected with her students, "I remember the very first day you (started school); you were everywhere! And now, to see how you've transformed… the things we had to teach you that you're now doing automatically… it's amazing!"
Ohio State University confirmed the impact Sylvia is seeing in her classroom; finding these skills improve college graduation rates up to 600%!5
No legislation needs to change. These skills are already embedded in the Common Core Anchor Standards.
While Detroit's mayor, the coalition, and the governor restructure the system, there are:
Teachers in the classroom that want to make a difference.
Employers that need a strong workforce.
And students that have dreams and aspirations!
In response, Kruger launched a Kickstarter campaign to make an immediate difference. She's calling on the community to fund these critical skills in time for the new school year in September. Together, we can boost students' success and transform the quality of Detroit's workforce!
This campaign is a win-win for everyone… Students get skills they desperately need for success. Teachers have engaged and empowered learners. Employers have a functional, engaged workforce!
YOU can join Kruger and be part of the solution! Make a pledge at: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/skills/help-detroit-students-soar or visit www.StudySkills.com/Kickstarter. Every dollar will make an impact.
Kruger says, "Together, we can create a culture of authentic success for the students of Detroit; one celebrating the unique diversity of the human spirit… The Spirit of Detroit!"
The Coalition for the Future of Detroit Schoolchildren - http://choiceisoursdetroit.tumblr.com/report
International PISA scores: http://www.oecd.org/pisa/keyfindings/pisa-2012-results.htm
International PIAAC scores: http://www.ets.org/s/research/30079/index.html
Detroit Skills Gap Report - http://www.jpmorganchase.com/corporate/Corporate-Responsibility/detroit-skills-gap-report.htm
Ohio State University "study skills" study: http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/lrngclas.htm