Monday, February 25, 2008

Chicago Public Schools hopes to solve dropout problem

When I was in high school there were students who would miss perhaps months worth of school. I could go by the weeks they would miss. It's not like say the month of January would go by and you wouldn't see them. Perhaps you saw them one day that month then they stopped showing up for a while.

I almost wonder why students stopped showing up. I would expect that's as important as attempting to prevent students from dropping out. Oh and dropping out is said to be more common for boys than girls but I've noticed there were those girls who dropped out as well. Some of this might be because they have babies, but I'd like to know beyond that what causes a girl to drop out.

Here's an easy answer for me. Lack of parental involvement. If the parents don't support you when you're in school why would you bother going. We might have heard stories about how parents cast their children off on the school system as if it's their job to raise their kids or at least babysit them during the day. Of course that might not be the only factor. So here's a Tribune excerpt...
Nearly half of Chicago public school 9th graders who started high school in the last seven years have dropped out without earning a high school diploma, according to a study to be released Monday.

The report, CPS Graduation Pathways Strategy and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed the district's dropout numbers since 2000.

It found that the number of students who did not finish high school hit a high in 2000, when 49 percent of freshmen who started their studies in 1995 did not graduate.

Since then, the number of students who have dropped out has been edging lower. In 2006, that figure dropped to a seven-year low when 44 percent of the 31,600 9th graders who began high school in 2001 failed to graduate.

"It's a huge issue, and it's not just a huge issue in Chicago. It's a huge issue in all of the large urban districts across the country," said Carmita Vaughan, the district's dropout prevention and recovery director. "For whatever reason over the past 10 years, there has been an alarming trend of students who are not successfully finishing high school."

Among the findings, the study, which was based on data from the 2005-06 school year, found that about a third of incoming 9th graders entered high school at ages older than the traditional 9th grader. Among those students, the graduation rate dropped to 27 percent, Vaughan said.

Girls were more likely to graduate than boys, the study found. The dropout rate for African-American students was highest among all the students, with about 49 percent failing to graduate. About 30 percent of white students dropped out, Vaughan said.

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