Almost a half century ago, John W. Gardner, President Lyndon Johnson’s Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare (the precursor to the now separate Departments of Education and Health and Human Services) said, More
The numbers barely change, year after year. As I wrote a year ago, there is a graduation gap in our public schools, especially in our cities. Only 53% of the high school students in the nation‚Äö√Ñ√¥s 50 largest cities are graduating on time, while nationwide only 71% graduate. Approximately 1.2 million students drop out each year ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ averaging 7,000 every school day or one every 26 seconds.
Those who drop out of high school are less likely to be steadily employed (only 37%), and are more than twice as likely to live in poverty. In the 50 largest cities, the median income for high school dropouts is $14,000 ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ significantly lower than the median income of $24,000 for high school graduates and $48,000 for college graduates.
And, of those students who do graduate high school, estimates range from as low as 8% in some school districts to 20%-30% of the students are actually prepared for college. The recent financial and environmental catastrophes may capture the headlines and our attention, but unless we improve the education of our children, we are doomed to erode our status as a nation and our children are doomed to a life of missed opportunity.
Report: Cities in Crisis 2009, Closing the Graduation Gap
Read more about Closing the Graduation Gap at:
Facts from Cities in Crisis, Closing the Graduation Gap
- From 1995-2005, the average graduation rate of the 50 largest cities is well below the national average of 71%, and there remains an 18 percentage point urban-suburban gap.
- Only about half (53%) of all young people in the nation‚Äö√Ñ√¥s 50 largest cities are graduating from high school on time.
- Nationwide, nearly one in three U.S. high school students fails to graduate with a diploma.
- Approximately 1.2 million students drop out each year ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ averaging 7,000 every school day or one every 26 seconds.
- Among minority students, the problem is even more severe with nearly 50 percent of African American and Hispanic students not completing high school on time.
- Those who drop out of high school are less likely to be steadily employed, and earn less income when they are employed, compared with those who graduate from high school. Approximately one-third (37 percent) of high school dropouts nationwide are steadily employed and are more than twice as likely to live in poverty.
- High school dropouts account for 13 percent of the adult population, but earn less than six percent of all dollars earned in the U.S.
- In the 50 largest cities, the median income for high school dropouts is $14,000 ‚Äö√Ñ√¨ significantly lower than the median income of $24,000 for high school graduates and $48,000 for college graduates.
- Nationally, high school dropouts were the only group of workers who saw income levels decline over the last 30 years.
- Sixteen of the nation‚Äö√Ñ√¥s 50 largest cities had a graduation rate lower than 50 percent in the principal school district serving the city.
- Students in the suburban areas of the nation‚Äö√Ñ√¥s 50 largest cities were considerably more likely to graduate (77 percent) than students in the country‚Äö√Ñ√¥s urban schools (59 percent).