High School Dropouts: A Crisis, and a Promise

about 25 percent of students drop out a year - that’s about one million

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High School Dropouts: A Crisis, and a Promise
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High School Dropouts: A Crisis, and a Promise

When can you call something a “crisis?” Is it when a problem gets worse than ever before?  When some aspect of life falls apart completely?

Or, can a crisis be something that lingers for years - maybe even decades - until it poses a threat to the community?

That’s the story of the high school dropout in America.  The raw data shows that the percentage of those graduating high school hasn’t really changed for a long time. As it was decades ago, about 25 percent of students drop out - that’s about one million a year.  

The difference is - you used to be able to find a job without a high school degree.  That’s not the case anymore.  

WNPR - along with The Public Radio Exchange - are taking a look at this crisis in an hour-long special being carried by public radio stations nationwide, called “Left Behind, Dropping Out.”  You can hear it tomorrow afternoon at 2.  

It’s part of American Graduate - an initiative of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to try and solve the crisis.  

Today, where We live, we’ll hear parts of this special - stories of programs that are working - from here in New Haven, and in San Diego.  But first, we turn to one of the national experts on this issue - Robert Balfanz - a researcher at Johns Hopkins and co-director of the “Everyone Graduates” center.  He was in New Haven last night to speak on a program with with Geoffry Canada, Founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone.  We talked yesterday afternoon before the community forum at the Schubert Theater.