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'Don't Call Them Dropouts': Study Reflects on High School Drop Out Rate

'Don't Call Them Dropouts': Study Reflects on High School Drop Out Rate

Every high school student anticipates that triumphant day when they can toss their cap up in the air and celebrate their survival through the public school system. As much as the graduation rates have increased, there may be more work needed to prevent students from leaving school before earning their diplomas.

U.S. graduation rates reached a high of more than 80 percent in 2012, which was an increase of about 8 percent over the past decade, said an article in District Administration magazine. Although the trend of more graduates is a positive one, there are still those who do not make it through high school. 

"We’ve made these improvements, but we’re still left with about 20 percent of young people who are on a course to failure,” said Jonathan Zaff, executive director of the Center for Promise at Tufts University, the research center for America’s Promise Alliance, a nonprofit and business partnership.

The Center for Promise conducted 3,000 surveys and 200 interviews with young people to determine why students leave school, the article said. The report, "Don't Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young People Who Leave High School Before Graduation," found "there is no single reason" the article said. 

The report found three major factors as to why young people drop out of high school: "toxic environments, relationships with others, and lack of support."

In terms of toxic environments, the study said, the stories highlighted from participants look at three elements of "toxicity." One of the issues is violence at home, in school or in their neighborhoods. 

“Like I said, my father used to beat on me," said a person interviewed in the study named Thomas. "Never had my mom in my life; she was always on drugs. It was just me growing up watching over my little brothers while she was out in the street doing her thing. So me and my other brothers grew up too quick, took responsibility, we just--it was too late to go back to school.”

Read the full story. 

Article by Kassondra Granata, EducationWorld Contributor

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