According to a recent report by America's Promise Alliance, only about half of the students served by public school systems in the nation's largest cities receive diplomas. Seventeen of the nation's 50 largest cities had high school graduation rates lower than 50 percent. Nationally, about 1.2 million students drop out annually—one every 26 seconds, 7,000 every school day.
''When more than 1 million students a year drop out of high school, it's more than a problem, it's a catastrophe,'' says former Secretary of State Colin Powell, the founding chairman of the Alliance.
New Village Charter High School in Los Angeles is among a growing number of inner city schools that has found a solution to this problem in the ''Quiet Time/Transcendental Meditation program.''
Javier Guzman, the school's principal, spoke at the December 2011 ''Change Begins Within'' national summit in Los Angeles, sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation.
Javier Guzman, principal of New Village Charter High School:
''This work of teaching Transcendental Meditation isn't only about releasing stress. For my students and the thousands like them it's about combating the problem of poverty and the poison of low expectations that clearly has been institutionalized and reinforced in our educational system. This work is about breaking destructive cycles of behavior. It's about being given the tools to truly reach one's full potential. And as one of my students stated, 'It's about opening a door to someone I never knew I could be.' ''