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:
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
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