Here's an AP story about Jefferson High in Los Angeles, one of the worst schools in a very bad school system. Jefferson as a 58 percent dropout rate.
Last year, the district launched a $200,000 marketing campaign to convince kids school is worthwhile.
Promos on hip-hop radio, cell phone text messages, a MySpace Web site and You Tube videos hammered home that graduates earn an average of $175 more weekly than dropouts followed by the message: "Get your diploma."
Administrators are evaluating if the ads were successful, but the campaign sparked interest across the country, inspiring a similar program in New York City public schools.
One of the most effective ways of keeping kids in school is simple—home visits, which the district has been doing for years. The visits are now conducted by "diploma project advisers," guidance counselors who work with dropout-risk students.
Milton Friedman, the father of the school choice movement, talked to reason about how important education is to a vibrant, meritocratic society that minimizes castes.
Here's a great Drew Carey video on how a Southern California school turned around by introducing choice and competition into a totally stultifying bureaucracy: