ERIC Number: ED325582
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Aug-3
Reference Count: 0
High School Dropouts: How Much of a Crisis? Backgrounder, No. 781.
McLaughlin, Michael J.
There is no need for costly new state or federal dropout prevention programs because 87.1 percent of youth now complete a high school education by age 24, nearly achieving President George Bush's goal of a 90 percent graduation rate by the year 2000. Calculations of high national and urban dropout rates based on the number of students who do not graduate by age 18 have resulted in a "phantom crisis." Reforms are needed that encourage greater parental school involvement and give students greater incentives to stay in school. Many characteristics associated with high dropout rates, such as parental educational attainment and criminal involvement, are not school-related and may not have school-based solutions. Those factors that can be traced to schools should be addressed through programs that offer the student a choice among competing schools. Compulsory attendance regulations, which prohibit students from transferring to nonassigned schools, often make these choices unavailable. In areas with open enrollment policies, some choice programs have encouraged dropouts to complete their education. Minnesota, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin have developed innovative programs that combine both choice and incentives. Statistical data are presented in two tables. (FMW)
Descriptors: Dropout Prevention, Dropout Programs, Dropout Rate, Dropout Research, Dropouts, High School Students, High Schools, Program Evaluation, Reentry Students, School Choice, School Holding Power, Urban Schools
Heritage Foundation, 214 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Heritage Foundation, Washington, DC.