Dropouts and Dropout Prevention
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Dropouts and Dropout Prevention Jennifer Dounay Education Commission of the States Presentation to Oklahoma Senate Education Committee Oklahoma City, OK October 29, 2007. About ECS. 50-state education compact est’d 1965 Nonpartisan, nonprofit

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Dropouts and dropout prevention jennifer dounay education commission of the states presentation to oklahoma senate educ

Dropouts and Dropout PreventionJennifer DounayEducation Commission of the StatesPresentation to Oklahoma Senate Education CommitteeOklahoma City, OKOctober 29, 2007

About ecs
About ECS

  • 50-state education compact est’d 1965

  • Nonpartisan, nonprofit

  • Serves all state-level education policymakers and their staffs:

    • Governors

    • Legislators

    • State board members

    • State superintendents

    • SHEEOs and higher education boards

Education Commission of the States

Overview of presentation
Overview of Presentation

  • National perspective on dropouts

  • Implications of dropping out

  • What the research says

  • What states are doing

Education Commission of the States

Dropouts a national perspective
Dropouts: A National Perspective

  • Class of 2007: 70% graduation rate

  • 30% spread b/w highest, lowest states

    • Utah: 83.8%

    • South Carolina: 53.8%

  • 1.23 million dropouts b/w 2003-04 9th graders and 2006-07 12th graders

  • Minority students = more than half of all dropouts

  • Females, regardless of race, more likely HS grads

  • 9th grade = 1/3 of dropouts

    Source: Education Week, 2007 Diplomas Count

Education Commission of the States

The freshman pipeline
The Freshman Pipeline

Education Commission of the States

Caveats about dropout graduation rate data

State-reported data can be faulty

Different means of calculating = different results

Incomplete data systems

Variation in definition of “dropout”

Human error

Audits have identified higher-than-reported dropout rates in states

Caveats about Dropout/Graduation Rate Data

Education Commission of the States

Dropping out and employment income
Dropping Out andEmployment/Income

  • Dropouts more likely to be unemployed or out of labor force

  • Current average annual earnings of dropout = $19,400

    • Federal poverty level = $19,971 for family of four

  • Average annual earnings vary by race/gender

  • HS dropout, over lifetime, earns $260,000 less than HS grad and $1 million less than college grad

  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce: 90% of fastest-growing jobs need postsec.

Education Commission of the States

Job opportunities out of the zone
Job Opportunities: Out of the Zone

  • Zone 1: Median income: $12, 638 (32% HS dropouts, 37% HS grads)

  • Zone 2: Median income: $24,461 (16% HS dropouts, 38% HS grads)

  • Zone 3: Median income: $35,672 (just 9% HS dropouts, 27% HS grads, 37% some college)

  • More than 76 million jobs in U.S. in zones 3-5

Education Commission of the States

Tax revenues and dropouts
Tax Revenues and Dropouts

  • HS grad = average extra $139,100 in lifetime tax payments

  • Class of 2004 dropouts = will cost U.S. over $325 billion in lost wages, taxes

Education Commission of the States

Implications of dropping out incarceration
Implications of Dropping Out: Incarceration

Dropouts comprise:

  • 75% of state prison inmates

  • 69% of jail inmates

  • Almost 59% of federal inmates

    Numbers entering state prison w/o diploma rose in 1990s

    Inmates cite different reasons for dropping out, compared to general population

Education Commission of the States

Reducing crime and costs by reducing dropouts
Reducing Crime and Costs by Reducing Dropouts

  • Average lifetime saving per add’l HS grad = $26,600

  • Reduced costs in:

    • Policing/trials/sentencing

    • Incarceration

    • Victim medical care/lost tax revenues

    • Gov’t crime prevention agencies

      5% increase in male HS grad. rates = $5 billion in incarceration costs

Education Commission of the States

Dropping out and health
Dropping Out and Health

  • Link between more school, life expectancy

  • U.S. findings = findings in Sweden, Denmark, Wales, England

  • High school graduation linked to lower medical care time & expenses

  • Higher levels of parent learning = better infant, children health.

    • Infant mortality rates

    • Low birth weights

Education Commission of the States

Dropouts and public health costs
Dropouts andPublic Health Costs

  • More education = < need for Medicaid

  • Medicaid savings/grad

    • $800/year AA woman

    • $900/year Hispanic woman

  • Average lifetime savings per HS grad = $40,500

Education Commission of the States

Dropouts and welfare

Feds = $168 billion/year

States = $25 billion/year on:

Cash aid

Food benefits

Housing aid

Energy aid



Approx. 50% dropouts




Food stamps over lifetime:

64% of adult dropouts

38% HS grads

Dropouts and Welfare

Education Commission of the States

Welfare cost savings of hs grads
Welfare Cost Savings of HS Grads

HS Grads:

  • TANF—40% less likely

  • Housing assistance—1% less likely

  • Food stamps—19% less likely

    Some college:

  • TANF—62% less likely

  • Housing assistance—35% less likely

  • Food stamps—54% less likely

Education Commission of the States

Cost benefit of new grads
Cost/Benefit of New Grads

  • Spending an additional $82K per

    new HS grad = $209K higher gov’t revenues ($127K net benefit)

  • Net benefit = increased tax rev., reduced gov’t costs

  • Total $45 billion lifetime savings for ONE COHORT 20-yr.-olds

Education Commission of the States

Dropping out and teen pregnancy
Dropping Out and Teen Pregnancy

  • 26% of all dropouts, 1/3 female dropouts are teen parents

  • Fewer than 1/3 of mothers before 18 earn HS diploma (1.5% earn college degree by 30)

  • Students with low academic achievement 2x as likely to become parents by grade 12

  • Having teenage mother increases odds of dropping out

Education Commission of the States

Dropping out and divorce
Dropping Out and Divorce

  • 71% of dropouts come from fatherless homes

  • Link between dropping out and future divorce

  • College-ed. less likely to divorce

  • 1st graders with high

    stress at home (death,

    divorce, family moves)

    = elevated dropout risk

  • Low SES 1st graders w/

    2 parents at home = moderated dropout risk

Education Commission of the States

What does the research say
What Does the Research Say?

  • On-track in grade 9

  • Math curriculum

  • School size

  • Math coursetaking/achievement grade 9

  • Indicators as early as grade 6

  • Student-teacher relationships

Education Commission of the States

What matters for staying on track and graduating in chicago public high schools
“What Matters for Staying on Track and Graduating in Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Course failures matter

  • Attendance matters most

  • What else matters:

    • Student effort

    • Relationships

    • Gender/race

    • “The Engagement Factor”

  • Programmatic approaches rarely effective

  • Use data to target needs

Education Commission of the States

What do dropouts say
What Do Dropouts Say? Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Top 5 Reasons for Leaving School:

    • Classes not interesting: 47%

    • Missed too many days, couldn’t catch up: 43%

    • Spent time w/people not interested in school: 42%

    • Had too much freedom and not enough rules in my life: 38%

    • Was failing in school: 35%

Education Commission of the States

What might have kept them in school
What Might Have Kept Them in School Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Making content more relevant to their lives

    • 81%: “Real-world learning” via internships, service learning

  • Better teachers who keep class interesting: 81%

  • Smaller classes: 75%

  • More after-school tutoring, extra help: 70%

  • More parental involvement: 70%

  • Better communication b/w parents/school: 71%

Education Commission of the States

Impact of parental awareness
Impact of Parental Awareness Chicago Public High Schools”

Education Commission of the States

Dropout prevention what states are doing
Dropout Prevention: What States Are Doing Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Increasing rigor of HS curriculum

  • Student accountability

  • Graduation plans/career “majors”

  • Remediation

  • Early college high schools

  • Small schools/small learning communities

  • Alternative pathways to standard diploma

  • Middle grades efforts

  • Parental involvement

  • Ninth grade initiatives

Education Commission of the States

Increasing rigor
Increasing Rigor Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Supported by research

  • OK Class of 2010: part of nat’l trend

  • Too soon to tell for state efforts

  • Local efforts (San Jose, CA) encouraging

Education Commission of the States

Student accountability
Student Accountability Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Upper compulsory school age

    • Gets at “too much

      freedom” cited by dropouts

  • No pass/no drive: 27 states

  • No pass/no play: 23 states

  • Upper statutory age:

    21 in 31 states

  • Learnfare

Education Commission of the States

Graduation plans career majors
Graduation Plans/Career Majors Chicago Public High Schools”

  • OK: Variation on a theme

  • Add relevance

  • Not aware of research base

Education Commission of the States

Remediation Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Districts req’d to provide/student req’d to attend

  • Individual graduation plans for at-risk students

  • State requires districts to evaluate: 10 states

  • Supported by research and dropouts themselves

Education Commission of the States

Early college high schools
Early College High Schools Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Combine HS w/Associate’s Degree (60 credits)

  • Targeted to high minority and/or high poverty

    • 2/3 African American or Latino

    • 60% free/reduced lunch

    • Center for Native Education: 18 sites in AK, CA, OR, WA

  • State-level policies in 5 states(CO, NC, PA, TN, TX)

  • Early returns positive:

    • 90%+ attendance rates

    • Promotion rates above 90%

Education Commission of the States

Small schools small learning communities
Small Schools/Small Learning Communities Chicago Public High Schools”

  • More local than state-level response

  • Research and dropouts’ experience support

  • NV: HS of 1,200+ students must provide SLCs

  • CA: Financial incentives

  • FL:

    • “Guiding principle” in each HS improvement plan

    • State policy establishes SLC models of career/professional academies

    • District policy must encourage any not-small school to divide into schools-within-a-school

Education Commission of the States

Alternative pathways to standard diploma
Alternative Pathways to Standard Diploma Chicago Public High Schools”

  • KY: Credit recovery through virtual school

  • IN: School Flex program

  • FL: Districts must provide:

    • Alternative means of showing competency

    • Creative/flexible scheduling

    • Credit recovery courses, intensive math/reading intervention courses based on FCAT scores

  • FL: Dept. to provide more applied, integrated courses

  • NV: Earn HS credits while working toward HS promotion

Education Commission of the States

Middle grades efforts
Middle Grades Efforts Chicago Public High Schools”

  • FL, KY: Career awareness/planning as early as grade 6

  • FL: Middle grades course promotion policies

  • FL: Intensive reading, math remediation for low FCAT scorers

  • NV: Include grade 6-8 dropout rates in state board report

  • MS: Pilot on building relationships, planning for future, importance of staying in school

Education Commission of the States

Parental involvement
Parental Involvement Chicago Public High Schools”

  • Addresses research, dropouts’ suggestions

  • Areas of policy:

    • Developing formal parent involvement policy

    • Communicating academic expectations to parents

    • Recognizing, accommodating parent needs

    • Building staff capacity to engage with parents

    • Building parent capacity to engage with fellow parents, staff, and community members

    • Developing success benchmarks and evaluating impact

Education Commission of the States

Ninth grade initiatives
Ninth Grade Initiatives Chicago Public High Schools”

  • NV: SLCs in large high schools:

    • Designate separate grade 9 area

    • Keep data on credits earned, attendance, truancy, other at-risk indicators

    • Offer timely ID of grade 9 student needs, i.e., remediation, counseling

    • Increase parental involvement at grade 9

    • Assign guidance counselors, 1+ licensed administrator, adult mentors for 9th graders

Education Commission of the States

Last but not least
Last but Not Least Chicago Public High Schools”

Dropping back in

  • Upper statutory age

  • Opportunities to earn

    HS diploma at CC

  • Flexible scheduling

  • Career/next steps planning

Education Commission of the States

Want to learn more
Want to Learn More? Chicago Public High Schools”

  • ECS Research Studies Database: www.ecs.org/rs

  • ECS Remediation Database: www.ecs.org > HS Databases

  • The Costs and Benefits of an Excellent Education for All of America’s Children http://www.cbcse.org/modules/download_gallery/dlc.php?file=35

  • Coming soon! ECS database and policy brief on early college high schools

  • Coming soon! ECS policy brief on parental involvement at the HS level

Education Commission of the States

Jdounay@ecs org
jdounay@ecs.org Chicago Public High Schools”


Education Commission of the States