Education Vital Signs: Dropout Prevention

Dropping out of school might appear to be single, devastating act, but it’s really more of a process. In high schools where dropping out is the norm, as many as half the students may enter ninth grade with math and reading skills at the fifth-, sixth-, or seventh-grade level, and another quarter are below fifth-grade level, according to Robert Balfanz, director of the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. Thus, years before these students are expected to graduate, many are already perhaps irreparably behind. Yet despite these challenges, educators have learned much about how to raise graduation rates. Smaller, more personalized schools, increased family outreach, better and more relevant professional development for teachers, and longer and more focused school days have all been used to reduce the number of dropouts, increase graduation rates, and ensure that students leaving high school are better prepared for the future.

Matriculation linked to high school rigor, academic advisors
A study from NSBA’s Center for Public Education finds that college students who meet frequently with their academic advisers and who took rigorous courses -- such as Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate courses, and especially advanced mathematics courses -- in high school significantly increase their chances of matriculating from college, even if they did not perform particularly well in those classes. Benefits are greatest to students in two-year institutions from lower-income families who arrive with lower achievement levels (up 27 percent), as compared to higher-wealth, higher-performing students (up 18 percent). The study, "High School Rigor and Good Advice," also found that students in two-year institutions increased their chances of graduating by 53 percent if they just met regularly with their academic advisor.
October 2012

College degree means most in U.S.
"Education at a Glance 2012," a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), shows the U.S. lagging on most education indicators. Our high school graduation rate of 77 percent ranks 22nd of 27 countries measured. Only 69 percent of our 4-year-olds are in school, compared to OECD’s average of 81 percent. We pay our teachers significantly less than other countries do, and our teachers work longer hours, it seems. The children of our less-educated parents have dismal prospects for completing college. But education pays off in the U.S. more than in any other OECD country. Our college graduates earn $19,000 more each year than their high school-educated cohorts -- the OECD average is $8,900.
September 2012

Early grades retention
Retaining students is a costly educational intervention: The cost of retaining 2.3 percent of America’s students exceeds $12 billion annually. But children retained in the early grades perform at higher levels than their promoted cohorts for several years after retention, and they are less likely to be retained subsequently, according to a report from the Center on Children and Families at the Brookings Institution, "Is Retaining Students in the Early Grades Self-Defeating?" The report also says that the disappointing outcomes so often reported for retained students may merely reflect the reasons they were retained, rather than the consequences of being retained.
August 2012

Graduation rates climb
The nation’s public school graduation rate now stands at 73.4 percent, the highest it has been since the late 1970s. Education Week’s “Trailing Behind, Moving Forward” says that most of this improvement is due to a rapid rise in Latino (5.5 percent) and African-American (1.7 percent) graduation rates. Rates for white students have not changed significantly, while rates for Native American and Asian-American students have dropped slightly. The Latino graduation rate at 63 percent still lags significantly behind the U.S. average.
June 2012

Graduate nation
Since 2008-09 the nation’s graduation rate has risen to 75.5 percent. Wisconsin has become the first state in the nation to reach the Civic Marshall Plan goal of a 90 percent graduation rate, and Vermont is right behind with a graduation rate of 89.6 percent. According to "Building a Grad Nation," a report from the America’s Promise Alliance, the number of dropout-factory high schools -- schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of their student on time -- declined by 23 percent from 2002-10.
March 2012

State High School Tests: Changes in State Policies and the Impact of the College and Career Readiness Movement

http://www.cep-dc.org/cfcontent_file.cfm?Attachment=Dietz%5FHSEE2011%5F120811%2Epdf

The number of states administering high school exit exams has decreased for the first time in six years, but 27 of these 31 states are participating in developing common assessments with the two consortia tied to the Common Core State Standards, and 16 of these will replace their current exit exams with consortia assessments. The report, State High School Tests: Changes in State Policies and the Impact of the College and Career Readiness Movement, was published by the Center on Education Policy.

November 2011

On Track for Success

http://www.every1graduates.org/images/pdfs/on_track_for_success.pdf 

On Track for Success, from Civic Enterprises and the Everyone Graduates Center finds three key indicators highly predicative of eventual student dropout. These three factors (the ABCs) are attendance (absent 20 days or 10 percent of the time), behavior (two or more behavior infractions), and course failures (not reading on grade level by the end of third grade; English or math failure between sixth and ninth grades; two or more ninth grade course failures; a GPA below 2.0; or not promoted to tenth grade with cohorts).

November 2011

Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore

http://www.clasp.org/admin/site/publications/files/NotKidStuffAnymoreAdultStudentProfile-1.pdf

A new report from the Center for Law and Social Policy, “Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore,” projects that there will be no growth in the number of U.S. high school graduates over the next decade, and that some states will actually see an 18 percent to 20 percent decline in the number of their graduates. The report includes state-by-state projections of high school graduate numbers through 2020. The greatest declines in graduate numbers will occur in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, North Dakota, and Ohio.

June 2011

Diplomas Count 2011

http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2011/06/09/index.html?intc=EW-DC11-EM

The graduation rate jumped almost three percentage points from 2007 to 2008 after declining for two years, and now stands at 72 percent, the highest it has been since the 1980s. Diplomas Count 2011, a new report from Education Week, says that graduation rates have increased by at least two percentage points for all ethnic groups; graduation rates improved most rapidly among black students. Eighty-three percent of Asian-Americans, 78 percent of whites, 58 percent of Latinos, 57 percent of blacks, and 54 percent of Native Americans graduated.

June 2011

Latino graduates -- School Enrollment in the United States: 2008

http://www.census.gov/prod/2011pubs/p20-564.pdf

U.S. Census Bureau data show a 12 percent rise in the number of Latino high school graduates from 2000 to 2008. School Enrollment in the United States: 2008 reports that in 2008 only 22 percent of Latino 18- to 24-year-olds lacked a high school diploma or its equivalent, or were not enrolled in high school, compared to 34 percent in 1998. Latino enrollment in two-year colleges was up 85 percent from 2000 levels. An enrollment record was set in 2008, with 18.6 million students enrolled in college.

June 2011

Double Jeopardy

http://www.aecf.org/~/media/Pubs/Topics/Education/Other/DoubleJeopardyHowThirdGradeReadingSkillsandPovery/DoubleJeopardyReport040511FINAL.pdf

Low-income students who do not read proficiently by third grade are at great risk of not graduating, or not graduating on time, according to Double Jeopardy, a new report from The Annie E. Casey Foundation. Twenty-six percent of low income, low-proficiency readers fail to graduate high school by age 19, compared to 22 percent of low-income children overall, and 6 percent of children who have never experienced poverty. The statistics are most grim for black and Latino students who are not proficient readers by third grade.

May 2011

Destination Graduation: Sixth Grade Early Warning Indicators for Baltimore City Schools

http://baltimore-berc.org/pdfs/SixthGradeEWIFullReport.pdf

A new study from the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, Destination Graduation: Sixth Grade Early Warning Indicators for Baltimore City Schools, finds four early-warning indicators of non-graduation for sixth-graders: chronic absence; failing math or English, or both, earning a failing average for math, science, English, and social studies; being overage by at least one year; and a suspension of three days or longer.

February 2011

Education and the Economy

http://www.all4ed.org/files/BoostingEconomyInfographic032211.pdf

Education and the Economy, an analysis of the economies of all 50 states and the District of Columbia to determine their economic benefit if 50 percent of their dropouts had finished high school shows – nationally -- $7.6 billion in increased earnings, $5.6 billion in increased spending, $2 billion in increased investments. Also, the states would see $19 billion in increased home sales, $713 million in increased tax revenue, $9.6 billion in economic growth, and 54,000 new jobs.

March 2011

Dropout Nation

http://dropoutnation.net/2010/11/23/dropout-nation-high-cost-juvenile-justice/
Dropout Nation says that, for school reformers, solving problems in the juvenile justice system is as important as literacy to stemming the dropout crisis. Just 12 percent of former juvenile prison inmates ever graduate from high school or receive a GED. Only 45 percent of incarcerated youth spend six or more hours a day attending classes as do their public school cohorts. The website says an overdiagnosis of learning disabilities feeds young black, white and Latino men into special education, making them more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.
February 2011

College Completion Agenda 2010 Progress Report
http://completionagenda.collegeboard.org/sites/default/files/reports_pdf/Progress_Report_2010.pdf
The College Board’s College Completion Agenda 2010 Progress Report outlines a 10-part action agenda for increasing college completion rates: 1) universal, voluntary preschool for low-income families; 2) improved college counseling; 3) high school dropout prevention; 4) alignment of  K12 education with international standards and college admission requirements; 5) improved teacher quality, recruitment, and retention; 6) simplified college admission processes; 7) more need-based grants and a clarified financial aid processes; 8) affordable college tuition; 9) college dropout prevention; and 10) more postsecondary educational opportunities to adults.
August 2010

Yes We Can
http://www.schottfoundation.org
Twice as many white boys are “Gifted and Talented” as black boys, while black boys are twice as likely to be classified as “Mentally Retarded.” Black boys receive out-of-school suspensions twice as often, and expulsion three times as often, as white boys. The Schott Foundation’s 2010 report on public education and black males, Yes We Can, says that school discipline disparities like these may account for the large number of black males who don’t graduate.
August 2010

Fighting the Dropout Crisis
http://hechingerreport.org/content/what-can-we-do-about-the-dropout-problem_3311/
Dropout prevention efforts in New York City, Philadelphia, and Portland, Ore., essentially fall into two categories: fixing existing high schools that aren’t performing (often by breaking them into smaller schools); and creating alternative schools/programs to meet the needs of current and potential dropouts. New York’s efforts succeeded, as did Philadelphia’s, in part; Portland’s were unsuccessful. Why didn’t they all succeed? Consistent, strong leadership and high expectations made the difference, says Fighting the Dropout Crisis, written by journalists at the Hechinger Institute at Columbia University.
July 2010

Diplomas Count 2010
http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2010/06/10/index.html
Only 68.8 percent of U.S. students earned a standard diploma in four years in 2007, down from 69.2 percent in 2006, according to Diplomas Count 2010. Forty-six percent of African American students, 44 percent of Hispanic students, and 49 percent of Native American students failed to earn a diploma in four years. One-fifth of all of the non-graduates come from 25 large school districts. These districts include New York City, Los Angeles, and Clark County, Nevada.
June 2010

Teaching Discipline: A Toolkit for Educators on Positive Alternatives to Out-of-School Suspensions
http://www.ctkidslink.org/publications/edu10discipline.pdf
A new report from Connecticut Voices for Children demonstrates that there are effective means other than out-of-school suspensions to improving school discipline, including support for positive behavior, mentoring, peer mediation, detention, restitutions, parent meetings, and fostering student engagement. The report, Teaching Discipline: A Toolkit for Educators on Positive Alternatives to Out-of-School Suspensions, showcases examples of alternatives to out-of-school suspensions used successfully in Connecticut schools, where out-of-school suspensions have dropped from 7.1 percent in 2006-07 to 5.4 percent in 2008-09.
June 2010

Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers
http://www.all4ed.org/files/RuralHSReportChallengesOpps.pdf
One in four rural students fails to graduate from high school. Only 17 percent of rural adults older than 25 have a college degree. More than one-fifth of the U.S.’s 2,000 lowest-performing high schools are in rural areas. The authors of a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education, Current Challenges and Opportunities in Preparing Rural High School Students for Success in College and Careers, say that, with more than 3.4 million students attending rural high schools, these outcomes constitute a national crisis. Rural schools have shrinking local tax bases, difficulty retaining high-quality teachers, limited access to Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs, funding inequities, and increasingly diverse student populations -- including English-language learners, low-income, and minority students at risk of dropping out.
February 2010

Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers
http://www.childtrends.org/Files/Child_Trends-2010_01_22_FS_DiplomaAttainment.pdf
The teen birth rate climbed 5 percent between 2005 and 2007, after a 14-year decline. Teen mothers are at high risk for dropping out of school, and, statistically, children of teens have less-desirable behavioral and cognitive outcomes than do children of older mothers. A new report from Child Trends, Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers, shows that only 51 percent of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by age 22, compared with 89 percent of young women who do not give birth as teens. Moreover, the younger a teen mother is when she gives birth, the less likely she is to earn a diploma. One in three teen mothers never earns either a diploma or a GED, but of all teen mothers, black teen mothers are more likely than any other group to earn a diploma or GED by age 22.
January 2010

The Economic Benefits from Halving the Dropout Rate: A Boom to Businesses in the Nation’s Largest Metropolitan Areas
www.all4ed.org/files/EconBeneCityCardBooklet011210.pdf
Six hundred thousand students dropped out of the high school class of 2008 in the 50 largest cities in America. A new study from the Alliance for Excellent Education, The Economic Benefits from Halving the Dropout Rate: A Boom to Businesses in the Nation’s Largest Metropolitan Areas, demonstrates the benefits to the U.S. if just half of those 600,000 had graduated. Those 300,000 would have earned more than $4.1 billion in additional income every year, and would have generated nearly $536 annually in additional state and local tax revenues to benefit their 50 cities.
January 2010

Test, Punish, and Push Out: How Zero Tolerance and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth into the School to Prison Pipeline
www.advancementproject.org/sites/default/files/publications/01-EducationReport-2009v8-HiRes.pdf
Too many students -- and far too many students of color -- leave school without a diploma, despite efforts to raise student achievement. A new report from the Advancement Project, Test, Punish, and Push Out: How Zero Tolerance and High-Stakes Testing Funnel Youth into the School to Prison Pipeline, tells how the implementation of policies like zero-tolerance and high-stakes testing and laws like the No Child Left Behind Act -- intended to raise student achievement -- have backfired. The report states that policies such as these have eroded trust and turned schools into a hostile environment for millions of children, who are treated as if they are disposable and routinely forced out of school and into the criminal justice system. “After years of devastation caused by these policies,” the authors say, “we should have learned that the solution is not to be ‘tough’ on crime and schools, but to be smart.” Explored in the report are the common origins and ideological roots of zero tolerance and high-stakes testing; the current state of zero-tolerance school discipline across the country, including local, state, and national data; how high-stakes testing affects students, educators, and schools; how zero tolerance and high-stakes testing have become mutually reinforcing, combining to push huge numbers of students out of school; and successful grassroots efforts to eliminate harmful discipline and testing practices.
January 2010

Can I Get a Little Advice Here?
http://www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/can-i-get-a-little-advice-here.pdf
Most students rate their high school guidance counselors as fair or even poor, according to the Public Agenda Survey, Can I Get a Little Advice Here? Nearly half feel their counselors see them as just a face in the crowd, and they say teachers and coaches are more helpful and encouraging than their counselors. Two-thirds of those surveyed say their counselor did only a fair or poor job of helping them decide on a college. Students who reported bad counseling were less likely to receive financial aid and more likely to be disappointed in their college choice. Nearly one in five delayed going to college a year or more; delayed college attendance is linked to dropping out.
2010

Staying Competitive: Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences
http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2009/11/women_and_sciences.html
Data sources indicate that women are more likely than men to “leak” out of the “sciences pipeline” before obtaining a position at a university, according to Staying Competitive: Patching America’s Leaky Pipeline in the Sciences, a new report from the Center for American Progress and the University of California’s Berkeley Center on Health, Economics & Family Security. The report is unusual, in that it identifies when and why women (and men) with caregiving responsibilities drop out of the academic science career path, and how family affects whether or not women make it to the top of the scientific community. The study examines the effect on “leaks” of family formations (marriage, childbirth) and family responsive benefits such as paid maternity leave. The study finds that married women with children are 35 percent less likely to enter the tenure track than married men with children.
November 2009

Staying in School: Arts Education and New York City High School Graduation Rates
http://www.cae-nyc.org/sites/default/files/docs/CAE_Arts_and_Graduation_Report.pdf
New York City schools that offer the most access and resources to support arts education have the highest graduation rates in the nation’s largest school system, according to the Center for Arts Education. In schools with the lowest graduation rates, students have the fewest opportunities to participate in fine arts programs.
October 2009

The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools
www.all4ed.org/files/HighCost.pdf
“As ... findings show, the best economic stimulus is a high school diploma,” says Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education. The Alliance’s new brief, The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools, reports that the average annual income for a high school dropout in 2005 was $17,299 -- $9,634 less than the average annual income of $26,933 for high school graduates. The cumulative negative effect of dropouts on the U.S. economy is significant. If the high school students who dropped out of the class of 2009 had graduated, they would have contributed to the economy an additional $335 billion in earned income over their lifetimes.
August 2009

On Track to Complete? A Taxonomy of Beginning Community College Students and Their Outcomes 3 Years After Enrolling: 2003-04 Through 2006
http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2009/2009152.pdf
Pressure on community colleges to provide postsecondary education to the most diverse and least prepared sector of America’s population continues to grow, as does pressure on these institutions to have students complete their program of study. But, since not every student enrolls in community college intending to complete a formal program of study, how can community college “completion” be measured? A new report from the National Center for Education Statistics, On Track to Complete? A Taxonomy of Beginning Community College Students and Their Outcomes 3 Years After Enrolling: 2003-04 Through 2006, proposes a classification scheme to help measure completion, based on how “directed” students are toward completing a program of study.
July 2009

Diplomas Count 2009: Broader Horizons
http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2009/06/11/index.html
The definition of “college-ready” is debatable, and schools don’t have a consistent way to measure their students’ achievement, anyway. These are two of the key findings in Diplomas Count 2009: Broader Horizons, a new report on high school completion and college readiness from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The report also points out that not all high schools are equally equipped to assist students in applying for college and financial aid processes that low-income students find difficult.
June 2009

Major Depressive Episode and Treatment among Adolescents
http://oas.samhsa.gov/2k9/youthDepression/MDEandTXTforADOL.pdf
Two million American teenagers experienced a major depressive episode (MDE) last year, but only 38.9 percent of them ever received treatment. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration report also shows that health insurance is an important factor in whether or not MDE sufferers receive care. Only 17.2 percent of those who did not have coverage received treatment.
May 2009

Changing Patterns of Nonmarital Childbearing in the United States
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db18.pdf
A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics indicates that the recent increase in unwed mothers among older teens is only a reflection of a larger trend towards single parenthood among all young women in their 20s and 30s in the U.S., where nearly four out of every 10 births is to a single woman.
May 2009

English Learners in Boston Public Schools: Enrollment, Engagement and Academic Outcomes, AY2003-AY2006
http://www.gaston.umb.edu/articles/2009%20Final%20ELL%20Report_online.pdf
A 2003 voter-approved change requiring Boston’s students to receive English-only instruction has nearly doubled the dropout rate among the district’s English language learners, according to a study from the Mauricio Gaston Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts. In many cases, the report says, the district fails to evaluate properly and subsequently identify hundreds of students for special language instruction, and doesn’t give parents information on program options.
April 2009

Cities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap
http://www.americaspromise.org/Our-Work/Dropout-Prevention/~/media/Files/Our%20Work/Dropout%20Prevention/Cities%20in%20Crisis/Cities_In_Crisis_Report_2009.ashx
A new report from the America’s Promise Alliance, Cities in Crisis 2009: Closing the Graduation Gap, shows that, while only about half (53 percent) of all students in the nation’s 50 largest cities finish high school on time, some large cities are making great strides in raising graduation rates. Among them: Philadelphia (23 percent); Tucson, Ariz. (23 percent); Kansas City (20 percent); El Paso, Texas (14 percent); Portland, Ore. (13 percent); and New York City (13 percent).
April 2009

Still learning—reading beyond grade three: At a glance
http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org
Students who are strong readers by the end of third grade still need more advanced reading skills to succeed in middle and high school, and progress in reading achievement appears to stall in the upper grades, according to research by the The Center for Public Education. In 2004, average reading scores for 9-year-olds on the Long Term National Assessment of Education Progress rose to their highest level in the 33-year history of the assessment (11 points). For 13-year-olds, scores rose only four points between 1971 and 2004, and average scores for 17-year-olds stayed virtually the same. At each grade level, white students outperformed their black and Hispanic classmates by more than two grades.
March 2009

New data – same staffing inequities at high-poverty schools
http://www.thenotebook.org/summer-2009/091304/new-data-same-staffing-inequities-high-poverty-schools
Despite district efforts to correct the trend, data reported by The Notebook show that those Philadelphia schools with the highest concentrations of poverty still have the highest teacher turnover and the fewest highly qualified teachers. These differences are most striking in the district’s middle schools and high schools.
2009

With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them: Myths and Realities About Why So Many Students Fail to Finish College
www.publicagenda.org/files/pdf/theirwholelivesaheadofthem.pdf
The key to raising graduation rates seems to be dismantling the full-time student myth and restructuring financial aid and class schedules to help part-time students combine work and school. According to a new report from Public Agenda underwritten by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, With Their Whole Lives Ahead of Them: Myths and Realities About Why So Many Students Fail to Finish College, eight in 10 of those who dropped out believe that making part-time students eligible for more financial aid and offering more courses in the evening and on weekends would help “a lot.”
2009 

Graduation Rates – various studies
http://www.all4ed.org
The Alliance for Excellent Education says a national accounting of graduation rates is needed to prevent students from continuing “to disappear from schools without anyone noticing,” a policy brief says. Recommendations include making graduation rates available to students, parents, and other groups and having graduation data affect Adequate Yearly Progress results.Meanwhile, another Alliance policy brief decries the “tunnel vision” the U.S. displays in the “global schoolhouse.” The report accuses the U.S. of ignoring opportunities to learn from its international peers in education, noting steep declines in high school completion rates.
2009

Ending Social Promotion Without Leaving Children Behind The Case of New York City
http://www.rand.org/pubs/monographs/2009/RAND_MG894.pdf
New York City fifth-graders held back under a policy that ended social promotion showed significant improvement in standardized tests over the next three years, according to a report from the RAND Corporation. More important, the study found that students had no less confidence after being retained for a year, during which time they received extra help in the form of special Saturday and summer classes.
2009

A Report on the Status of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender People in Education: Stepping Out of the Closet, into the Light
http://www.educationvotes.nea.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/GLBT-Students.pdf
Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) students are missing classes, underachieving academically, or dropping out due to bullying, harassment, or physical abuse they suffer at school, according to a new report issued by the National Education Association (NEA). The report, part of an NEA series on underserved groups in education, also shows that GLBT students experience a higher rate of homelessness because of their families’ hostility to their sexual orientation or gender identity.
2009

Accelerated Middle Schools
http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/WWC_AccelMiddleSch_070808.pdf
Accelerated middle schools were found to have potentially positive effects on staying in school and positive effects on progressing in school, according to the What Works Clearinghouse, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education’s Institute of Education Sciences. Accelerated middle schools are self-contained academic programs designed to help students who are behind grade level catch up with their age peers.
September 2008

From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate
http://www.all4ed.org/publication_material/reports/ECAG
A few of the nation’s high schools are educating all of their students well. Many more are doing a good job of providing a good education to some of their students, but allowing others to fall through the cracks. And about two thousand (12 percent) of the country’s high schools produce about half of the nation’s dropouts. These and other problems with the nation’s secondary schools are chronicled in From No Child Left Behind to Every Child a Graduate, a new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education.
August 2008 

Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability
http://www.all4ed.org/files/ESA_GradRateAcct.pdf
Every Student Counts: The Case for Graduation Rate Accountability, a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education, says the way graduation rates are measured and reported seriously undermines effective high school reform. The report also identifies four policy recommendations for meaningful improvement.
July 2008

High School Dropouts: Alabama’s Number One Education and Economic Problem
http://www.sefatl.org/pdf/HSD%20Report-Final-2007Appendix.pdf
Alabama’s high school dropout rate, which has ranked between 42nd and 47th in the nation for the past 25 years, is the biggest threat to the state’s long-term economic growth and a large reason why the state’s residents earn less than the average American, according to a report by the Atlanta-based Southern Education Foundation. The state’s dropout rate has held steady since 1983, but jobs requiring a high skill level are replacing lower-skill jobs of the past, the report states.
May 2008

Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation
http://www.americaspromise.org/Resources/Research-and-Reports/c/Cities-in-Crisis-2008.aspx
More than 30 percent of the nation’s 50 largest cities have graduation rates of less than 50 percent, according to a report by America’s Promise Alliance. The lowest rates are in Cleveland, Detroit, and Indianapolis. Nationally, about 1.2 million students drop out each year. The report, issued by the organization founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell, is titled Cities in Crisis: As Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation.
April 2008

Alternative Pathways to High School Graduation: An International Comparison
http://cdrp.ucsb.edu/dropouts/download.php?file=researchreport7.pdf
High school graduation rates are soaring in foreign countries, partly because of alternative pathways that have been developed that contribute to a large number of students going on to college, according to a report by the California Dropout Research Project. The policy brief finds countries that provide separate Career and Technical Education programs in combination with school and workplace learning have the highest high school graduation rates.
January 2008

America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2008
http://www.nichd.nih.gov/publications/pubs/upload/americas_children_in_brief_report2008.pdf
Teen pregnancies in the United States rose in 2006, for the first time since 1991, according to America’s Children in Brief: Key National Indicators of Well-Being 2008, released by the National Institutes of Health. Pregnant teens are more likely to smoke and less likely to get prenatal care than mothers over the age of 20.
2008

The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools
http://www.all4ed.org/files/archive/publications/HighCost.pdf
If all high school dropouts from the class of 2007 had instead earned diplomas along with their classmates, the U.S. economy could have benefited from an additional almost $330 billion in wages over these students’ lifetimes, according to conservative calculations by the Alliance for Excellent Education. The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools says the average annual income for a dropout in 2005 was almost $10,000 less than for a high school graduate.
October 2007

Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue
http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/pdf/07_0063.pdf
Even though disparities in health and educational achievement are closely linked, public health professionals rarely pay serious attention to the dropout crisis affecting many of the nation’s schools, according to an article published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The article, “Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue,” notes that nearly one-third of all students in the United States and half of black, Latino, and American Indian students do not graduate from high school on time.
October 2007

Education Finance and Policy
http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/pdf/10.1162/edfp.2007.2.4.319
Florida’s five-year-old, test-based promotion policy, in which students are retained if they do not pass state exams, apparently is paying off, according to research published in Education Finance and Policy. The research by Jay Green and Marcus Winters of the University of Arkansas says that students who were retained for a year under Florida’s test-based promotion policy slightly outperformed students with similar test scores who were promoted to the next grade in previous years. The study contradicts previous research that suggests retention can have harmful academic and social effects for students. But Greene and Winters say the state’s use of an objective promotion policy, rather than one based on the recommendations of teachers and administrators, made the difference in achievement.
Fall 2007 

School or the Streets: Crime and California's Dropout Crisis
http://www.fightcrime.org/sites/default/files/reports/CA%20dropout.pdf
A months-long study conducted by Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization draws a distinct link between growth in California’s graduation rate and a drop in crime. According to the study, if another 10 percent of students graduated, homicides and aggravated assaults statewide could drop by 20 percent.
August 2007

Graduation Matters: Improving Accountability for High School Graduation
http://www2.edtrust.org/edtrust/press+room/graduation+matters.htm
Despite the national focus on reforming America’s high schools, most states are setting low goals for improving graduation rates and are not setting goals for ensuring that more low income, minority, disabled, and English-language-learner students graduate, according to a study by Education Trust. Graduation Matters: Improving Accountability for High School Graduation says that state graduation rate goals for NCLB are so low that they undermine the law’s intention to significantly raise graduation rates.
August 2007