Headlines at Hopkins: news releases from across
university Headlines
News by Topic: news releases organized by
subject News by Topic
News by School: news releases organized by the 
university's 9 schools & divisions News by School
Events Open to the Public (campus-wide) Events Open
to the Public
Blue Jay Sports: Hopkins Athletic Center Blue Jay Sports
Search News Site Search the Site

Contacting the News Staff: directory of
press officers Contacting
News Staff
Receive News Via Email (listservs) Receive News
Via Email
RSS News Feeds RSS News Feeds
Resources for Journalists Resources for Journalists

Virtually Live@Hopkins: audio and video news Virtually
Hopkins in the News: news clips about Hopkins Hopkins in
the News

Faculty Experts: searchable resource organized by 
topic Faculty Experts
Faculty and Administrator Photos Faculty and
Faculty with Homepages Faculty with Homepages

JHUNIVERSE Homepage JHUniverse Homepage
Headlines at Hopkins
News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

October 20, 2006
CONTACT: Amy Lunday

Johns Hopkins Study Shows
Detailed Picture of Dropout Crisis

Dropping out of high school is predictable and preventable, especially in large city public schools that produce many of the nation's dropouts, according to a new study by education researchers at The Johns Hopkins University's Center for Social Organization of Schools.

In Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-05, Ruth Curran Neild and Robert Balfanz draw on extensive data from Philadelphia schools and social service agencies not only to establish the problem but also to provide insight on how cities across the country can solve their dropout problem.

"This report can help big city school districts gain a deeper understanding of the dimensions and characteristics of the dropout crisis," said Balfanz, a research scientist and co-director of Talent Development High Schools at Hopkins. "It provides a road map on how to find and establish the best prevention and intervention strategies to keep all students on the graduation track."

The research report, released yesterday by the Philadelphia Youth Network, has significant implications for how cities can effectively use their resources to encourage more students to stay in school. According to Neild and Balfanz:

  • Most future dropouts can be identified before or early in the first year of high school. For example, eighth- graders who miss five weeks of school or fail math or English have at least a 75 percent chance of dropping out of high school. And in the Philadelphia district, as with most districts with a dropout challenge, many future dropouts attend a subset of high schools that often are overwhelmed by the sheer number of students in need of intensive intervention.

  • Most dropouts leave school because they are not attending regularly and are failing courses — a finding that counters the common interpretation of the landmark Silent Epidemic report that suggested that most students drop out because they are bored and not challenged.

  • Most dropouts are not involved with social service agencies, but those who are have extremely high dropout rates. For high school students who have been abused and neglected, are in foster care or receive an out-of-home placement in the juvenile justice system, the probability of dropping out is 75 percent or higher. Likewise, having a child before or during high school dramatically increased the chances that female students would drop out. This finding comes from the first analysis of individual school and social service records, and suggests that current social service/juvenile justice supports are not strong enough to enable adolescents in their charge to graduate.
  • The report provides a comprehensive policy agenda and sets goals and timetables for which leaders across public agencies will be held accountable. The plan calls for developing a system of high-quality options, effective interventions, and quality supports to help young people earn their diplomas; targeting attention and support for foster care youth, pregnant and parenting teens, and youth offenders; and building a comprehensive strategy across city agencies to support students and schools.

    In addition, the report makes specific recommendations for ways in which business leaders, elected officials, parents, and educators can take an active part in the solution.

    In light of the report, the Philadelphia School District on Thursday launched its Project U-Turn, a citywide effort to focus attention on the city's dropout crisis and to implement strategies and investment to resolve it.

    Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-05 is available on the web at www.csos.jhu.edu/new/Neild_Balfanz_06.pdf

    Johns Hopkins University news releases can be found on the World Wide Web at http://www.jhu.edu/news_info/news/
       Information on automatic e-mail delivery of science and medical news releases is available at the same address.

    arrow Go to Headlines@HopkinsHome Page