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ERIC Number: ED538341
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 52
Abstractor: ERIC
Unfulfilled Promise: The Dimensions and Characteristics of Philadelphia's Dropout Crisis, 2000-2005
Neild, Ruth Curran; Balfanz, Robert
Philadelphia Youth Network
This report uses a unique set of data obtained from the Kids Integrated Data System (KIDS), which is housed at the University of Pennsylvania's Cartographic Modeling Laboratory. The KIDS system merges individual-level data on young people from the School District of Philadelphia and the city's social service agencies, including the Department of Public Health, the Department of Human Services, and the Office of Emergency Shelter and Services. The resulting de-identified data allow the authors to follow cohorts of students over multiple years, examining their educational outcomes as well as the predictors of graduation and dropout. This report addresses three central sets of questions: (1) How many students in grades 6 through 12 drop out of Philadelphia's public schools in a single year? What are the key characteristics of these students, including their age, grade, race/ethnicity, gender, type of school attended, and neighborhood of residence?; (2) What percentage of 9th graders graduates within four years, five years, or six years of starting high school? What has been the trend in these cohort graduation rates over the past 5 years? What are the trends in cohort graduation rates for males and females and for students of different racial/ethnic backgrounds?; and (3) Which student characteristics, knowable or potentially knowable by school personnel and agency staff, can identify students as being at high risk of dropping out of high school? A clearer and deeper understanding of who drops out and who graduates in Philadelphia shows that in order to solve the dropout crisis in Philadelphia four policy challenges will need to be overcome. First, a broad-based coalition needs to be mobilized to meet the challenge and this coalition must be able to sustain itself for the long term. Second, a sustained effort to end Philadelphia's dropout crisis will require profound changes in how adolescents who live in the city's high poverty neighborhoods are educated. Third, even the most effective school-based reforms will not prevent all students from dropping out of school. Finally, the agencies that provide social services to the city's youth need to be deeply involved in the effort to stop the dropout crisis in Philadelphia. Appended are: (1) Defining Dropout; and (2) Comparing Graduation Rate Estimates. (Contains 18 tables, 14 figures and 28 endnotes.)
Philadelphia Youth Network. 714 Market Street Suite 304, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 267-502-3800; Fax: 267-502-3801; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 10; Grade 11; Grade 12; Grade 6; Grade 7; Grade 8; Grade 9; High Schools; Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: William Penn Foundation
Authoring Institution: Philadelphia Youth Network; University of Pennsylvania; Johns Hopkins University
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania
IES Cited: ED552306