ERIC Number: ED297423
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1986-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
School Dropouts: Policy Prospects. Policy Issues.
Catterall, James S.
In the issue-attention cycle identified by political scientists, the imagination and energy of public leaders progress from alarmed discovery of a problem, to euphoric resource mobilization and a search for solutions, to institutionalization of responses. Next come the harsh realities of expensive answers and slow progress, causing a hasty retreat and an attention shift to the latest hot issue fueled by yet another alarmed discovery. According to this paper, the dropout issue is basking in the early, hopeful stages of the cycle. The paper describes the alarmed attention currently focused on school dropouts and outlines what is known about attempts to prevent early school leaving. Most citizens find current dropout rates, especially for urban schools, shocking. Other factors bringing the dropout issue to national prominence include the standards-raising movement's effects on student persistence, the unsatisfactory collection and reporting of dropout statistics, lack of progress in equalizing educational opportunity, and growing concern over the nation's competitiveness and labor force quality. Research has successfully described the dropout phenomenon, but has failed to prescribe either a concrete program or conditional sets of activities to combat the problem. Known factors concerning family background, academic ability and performance, social integration, early adult transitions, and the consequences of dropping out are briefly discussed. Implications for dropout prevention are also explored, along with the need to extend the public's attention span and tap community networks. Some resources, with names, addresses, and telephone numbers are provided. (MLH)
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Appalachia Educational Lab., Charleston, WV.