Johns Hopkins University: Everyone Graduates
More students are staying in school instead of dropping out before receiving their diplomas, according to a recent report update released by America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises and Johns Hopkins University’s Everyone Graduates Center.
“Our data and case studies show that improvement is continuing and even accelerating in some areas,” Everyone Graduates Center senior research scientist Robert Balfanz said. “This means that real progress is possible when school districts and community partners confront this crisis strategically and commit themselves to solving it.”
The report, titled “Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic”, found that the number of high schools graduating less than 60 percent of their students on time decreased substantially between 2008 and 2009. These schools—often identified as “lowest performing” or “dropout factories” – totaled 1,634 in 2009, down from 1,746 in 2008 and a high of 2,007 in 2002. As a result, 183,701 fewer students attended dropout factories in 2009 than in 2008.
The report update also included four case studies highlighting success in Baltimore, Hillsborough County, Fla., Cincinnati and Canton, Ohio. All communities shared the themes of strong leadership with clear graduation rate goals and a commitment to raising standards, had support and involvement from many sectors of their geographic area and relied heavily on data to inform decision-making.
The report update also demonstrated significant changes by region, showing that western schools experienced a 12.5 percentage-point decrease in the number of “dropout factory” schools. Nationally, the study showed that the number of students attending dropout factories has declined from 2.6 million in 2002 to 2.1 million in 2009, demonstrating an improvement of nearly 20 percent.
AT&T Services, Inc. sponsored the study as part of their public affairs and sustainability programs. AT&T Senior Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer Charlene Lake described the report as “critical to understanding what initiatives are working in the quest to lower the number of ‘dropout factories’ and provide a brighter future for our students” and lauded it as “a great example of how verifiable data is being used to drive student outcomes.”#