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Dropout Factories

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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - High schools that have 60% or fewer 9th graders who don’t graduate four years later have been called “dropout factories.” Education Week reports that the Washington-based policy firm, Civic Enterprise in its 2006 report “The Silent Epidemic,” galvanized attention to the dropout numbers and since then most states have gained momentum in improving graduation rates.

It’s suggested that economic concerns and federal accountability perhaps are responsible for driving up the graduation rate from 72% in 2001 to 75% in 2008. The increase involved 281 schools.

While 700 new schools have been added to the list, 900 turned themselves around. Tennessee had a 15% increase in graduates and New York, 10%. Those with the highest increases looked to best practices of successful districts including targeting lower grades with more rigorous courses, early identification of likely dropouts and flexible class schedules.

The article cites Philadelphia’s Feltonville School of Arts and Sciences, a middle school feeder for high school at-risk students that uses an early-warning system as part of its turnaround. While numbers of potential dropouts have declined in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, both are on the national list for high numbers of potential dropouts.

Reported By Dr. Marciene Mattleman, KYW Newsradio