Why half of urban kids drop out

Thursday, March 13, 2014

The average high school graduation rate in America's biggest urban school districts, which serve large numbers of children from very disadvantaged backgrounds, is only about 50%. In most cities, the figure is even lower for African-American males.

Unfortunately, remarkably few strategies have been shown to improve the schooling outcomes of disadvantaged children, particularly once they reach adolescence. This has led many people to conclude that the harmful effects of poverty are already so entrenched by adolescence that improving academic learning for low-income teens is not feasible. Many experts have called for focusing instead on vocational education for these youth or just doubling down on early childhood.

Given all this, some may even question the prospects for success of President Obama's new initiative to help young minority men, My Brother's Keeper.

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