Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Dropouts-By the Numbers

Academic journal article Phi Delta Kappan

Dropouts-By the Numbers

Article excerpt



About 15% of the nation's high schools produce more than half of its dropouts and close to 75% of its minority dropouts. Half of these schools are found primarily in the cities of the North, Midwest, and West The other half are found throughout the South and Southwest in urban, suburban, and rural areas.

Source: Locating the Dropout Crisis, by Robert Balfanz and Nettie Legters.

Over a five-year period in one city,






40% of the 6th grades in 1999 missed a year or more of schooling.

Source: Lost Days: Chronic Absenteeism in Urban School Districts, by Stephen Plank.

Turn the numbers around

For more than 10 years, about a third of students who could be graduating from high school have not been doing so. "If the trend continues, 1.3 million students will fail to graduate in the class of 2010."

Source: Editorial Projects in Education. Education Week Diplomas Count: Graduation by the Numbers: Putting Data to Work for Student Success. June 10, 2010: 25.

The number of "dropout factory" high schools fell by 13%--from 2,007 such schools in 2002 to 1,746 in 2008.


If only a very few students weren't graduating, dropping out wouldn't be a crisis. However, when as many as a quarter of potential graduates don't walk across the stage to get a diploma, the word applies.

The national graduation rate increased from 72% to 75% between 2001 and 2008. But that's too slow to reach the national goal of having 90% of students graduate from high school and obtain at least one year of postsecondary schooling or training by 2020. …

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