Researchers Robert Balfanz and Joanna Fox of the School of Education’s Everyone Graduates Center (EGC) recently coauthored a report with good news on the nation’s dropout crisis. The report – Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic – showed that most states increased their graduation rates while the number of high schools referred to as “dropout factories,” where only 60% or fewer students graduate on time, have decreased. Sponsored by AT&T with support from the Peterson Foundation, the report was released in March by the EGC, Civic Enterprises, American’s Promise Alliance and the Alliance for Excellent Education.
The report found that 24 states increased their high school graduation rates by modest to large gains, while the number of “dropout factories”— decreased by 457 between 2002 and 2010, with the rate of decline accelerating since 2008. The number of “dropout factories” totaled 1,550 in 2010, down from 1,634 in 2009 and a high of 2,007 in 2002. The number declined by 84 between 2009 and 2010. As a result, 790,000 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2010 than 2002. These numbers and additional analysis are detailed in the report also authored by Johns Bridgeland and Mary Bruce of Civic Enterprises.
“The good news is that some states have made improvements in their graduation rates, showing it can be done. But the data also indicate that if we are to meet our national goals by 2020, we will have to accelerate our rate of progress, particularly in the states that have shown little progress,” said Robert Balfanz, director of Everyone Graduates Center.
In addition to the information on states and school districts making significant gains, the report shares best practices from nonprofits, businesses, media, educational and governmental institutions across the country, and five case studies in: Dothan, AL, the State of Georgia; Henry Grady High School in Atlanta, GA; Houston, TX; and Washington County Public Schools in Maryland. Click here to see the full report.