America loses about one out of five young people to the dropout crisis each year. A high school diploma is an important step in preparing youth to live an independent and more profitable life and is an essential component of America’s educated, innovative workforce. Dropping out makes it harder for young people to succeed in life, our economy loses hundreds of billions of dollars in productivity, and our communities suffer enormous social costs. America’s Promise Alliance annual report “Building a Grad Nation” provides a comprehensive look at the progress and challenges in ending the high school dropout epidemic. The good news is that solutions exist and – together – we can end the dropout crisis.
Research reveals that students drop out of school for a variety of reasons. Some of the main reasons cited are drug use, low socioeconomic status, chronic absenteeism, family issues and poor grades. Many efforts are now targeted on reaching children as early as possible, before they fall under one of these categories or situations. Early warning indicators can help teachers, schools, parents and the community get involved when they see signs of trouble, and help support at-risk youth as soon as possible.
Children who are lagging behind when they leave middle school have created an unstable foundation as they head into high school. Resources and intervention should be geared toward early and elementary education in order for students to succeed in school, arrive ready and able to learn, and be prepared for the challenges and demands of middle and high school. Early intervention, alternative education opportunities, finding a mentor or tutor or having a parent/guardian or adult who is invested in the student can improve the outcomes. Maryland’s Dropout Prevention School Completion Intervention Guide provides a comprehensive look at the factors that contribute to students dropping out, research on early warning indicators, and school and district-level early warning systems.
Maryland is working diligently to improve school performance. A few key reports discuss the state of Maryland’s school progress, plans, assessments, enrollment, attendance, objectives and other useful data. These resources serve as valuable tools to identify overall needs and push the needle forward to continue to improve student instruction and achievement.
For the first time, many states are on track to meet the national goal of 90% graduation rate by 2020. High school graduation rates are improving and graduates are more likely to be employed, make higher taxable incomes, and generate jobs than those without a high school diploma. Graduates are also less likely to engage in criminal behavior or receive social services.
Evidence-based solutions exist to keep students on track to graduate from high school, ready for college and work. Within the dropout factory schools, data systems can help identify which students need which types of targeted interventions to get back on track to graduate. For additional data, visit America’s Promise Alliance.