NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED509756
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Mar
Pages: 60
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Raising Their Voices: Engaging Students, Teachers, and Parents to Help End the High School Dropout Epidemic
Bridgeland, John M.; Balfanz, Robert; Moore, Laura A.; Friant, Rebecca S.
Civic Enterprises
High dropout rates continue to be a silent epidemic afflicting the nation's schools. Although some measurable progress is being made in some school districts and states to raise high school graduation rates, and federal, state, and local policies and practices are changing to meet the dropout challenge, the nation's progress is too slow and the individual, social, and economic costs continue to mount. After conducting research and issuing three reports on the perspectives of high school dropouts (The Silent Epidemic, 2006), parents (One Dream, Two Realities, 2007), and teachers (On the Front Lines of Schools, 2009), the authors discovered that these constituencies share different and often conflicting views of the causes and cures of dropout. They found that students, parents, and teachers have perspectives that exhibit significant disconnects that, if not more fully understood and bridged, will continue to set back efforts to keep more young people in school and on track to graduate prepared for postsecondary education. They brought together these three key constituencies, from the same schools, in Baltimore, Maryland; Dallas, Texas; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Kingsport, Tennessee. In each case, individuals remarked that this was the first time that teachers, parents, and students had been brought together to talk about any issue, including the dropout crisis. The discussions were enlightening and constructive and fostered an atmosphere of mutual respect. A primary purpose of this report is to present the findings from the candid discussions that were held in these four communities and to provide deeper insights around the disconnects that have inhibited communication. The authors found that the act of bringing these individuals together shed light on the barriers that each group faces and led to a collective will to combat the problems that stand in the way of student success. In order to arm other communities with the tools they will need to have similar dialogues, and to engage these three vital constituencies in common solutions to combat the epidemic of student dropout, they have attached the discussion guide they used in each of the four communities that contains all the guidelines needed to facilitate this conversation in a productive and action-oriented manner. Although these discussions varied from community to community and are not nationally representative, the findings from these focus groups have national implications that will serve other communities well as they strive to reverse the disturbing trend of high school dropout. Four appendices are included: (1) Research Methodology; (2) Focus Group Recruiting Instructions; (3) Information About Upcoming Focus Group and Permission Slip; and (4) Parent/Teacher/Student Discussion Guide. (Contains 33 footnotes, and a bibliography.) [This report was prepared for the AT&T Foundation and the America's Promise Alliance.]
Civic Enterprises. 1828 L Street NW 11th Floor, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-467-8894; Fax: 202-467-8900; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Civic Enterprises
Identifiers - Location: Indiana; Maryland; Tennessee; Texas