INTERVIEW: James Hanks, Birmingham Dropout Recovery Graduate

After working several jobs this past year, James Hanks got his high school diploma on May 14. But as he'll tell you below, he used to focus on all the wrong things. Photo by Dan Carsen.

After working several jobs this past year, James Hanks got his high school diploma on May 14. But as he’ll tell you below, he used to focus on all the wrong things. Photo by Dan Carsen.

The U.S. Secretary of Education recently recognized Alabama for having one of the nation’s steepest increases in high school graduation rates. Birmingham City Schools’ rate increased even more – up roughly 23 percent in the last four years. The latest data reported to the state education department puts the system’s rate at 79 percent — just below the national average. Regardless of that and larger questions about what the diplomas actually mean, having that piece of paper is helpful. Alabama reporter Dan Carsen sits down with James Hanks, who just graduated through Birmingham Schools’ Dropout Recovery Program, which runs three Alternative Learning Centers spread throughout the city as part of a larger report for NPR, “The Truth About America’s Graduation Rates.

MORE: On Track To A 90 Percent Graduation Rate in Alabama

The five-minute on-air interview below starts with the former Woodlawn High School athlete and drum major explaining — really admitting – why he had trouble graduating on time last year:

CLICK HERE FOR THE ON-AIR FIVE-MINUTE INTERVIEW: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WEB-ONLY 15-MINUTE INTERVIEW: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

CLICK HERE FOR THE WEB-ONLY 23-MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH PROGRAM COORDINATOR EZRA SHINE: 

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Ezra Shine, Birmingham City Schools’ Coordinator of Prevention, Recovery, and Alternative Programs for grades 6-12. Photo by Dan Carsen.

Ezra Shine, Birmingham Schools’ Coordinator of Prevention, Recovery, and Alternative Programs, grades 6-12. Photo by Dan Carsen.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Comments

  1. Pingback:On Track To A 90 Percent Graduation Rate In Alabama

  2. Pingback:88FM | On Track To A 90 Percent Graduation Rate In Alabama

  3. This is wonderful my children went to school in Jasper . I am so glad to hear something positive about Birmingham City Schools. I am also very glad to hear something good about my state. Our children are the future and they need education to make it in this world keep up the good work .

    Penny Williamson says:

    Since this proram is web based, it seems to me that the State Dept of Education could purchase it and make it available state wide. Of course, each school district would have to hire someone as motivated and motivating as Esra Shine. Every system could benefit from access.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>