Authors: Abigail H, Lindsey B, Chris A, Cherelle B.

Introduction By All Members

The annual dropout rate reported by school districts has fallen considerably over the past two years. Although the 29,918 students in grades 7-12 identified as dropping out in school year 1994-95 represent far too many instances of school failure, they are 10,000 fewer than the number of students who were reported to have dropped out the previous year. The 1994-95 annual dropout rate is 1.8 percent (Table 2.1). The estimated longitudinal dropout rate is 10.6 percent. The target set in law is to reduce the annual and longitudinal dropout rates to 5 percent or less by the 1997-98 school year (TEC §39.182).
Schools dedicated to dropout prevention tend to cite four main activities as central to any formula for prevention: seeking funding for dropout prevention programs, developing links with community agencies that can help schools in guiding teachers and students to appropriate services, identifying and working with organizations that can help students improve their academic environment, and preparing research and information on how schools, homes, and the community can combat the dropout problem.

Emphasizing support programs operating in schools --Encouraging co-curricular activities for as many students as possible --Increasing the information supplied to students about dealing with the school system --Increasing structured group meetings for high-risk students within the school setting --Increasing alternative classes, work programs, and correspondence classes --Allowing students who could realistically function better elsewhere to transfer to a different school --Encouraging families of troubled students to seek family support and counseling from professional agencies --Recognizing potential dropouts as special education candidates --Maintaining a night school program --Making homebound tutoring available to as many high-risk students as possible --Contacting students a week after they have dropped out and presenting them with the opportunity to change their mind

Abigail Hernandez-----^^^^

EVERY YEAR, CLOSE TO ONE-THIRD OF EIGHTEEN YEAR OLDS do not finish high school. The dropout rates for minority students, students from low-income families, and disabled students are even higher. This is not just a problem affecting certain individuals and schools, it is a community-wide problem that affects everyone. High school dropouts commit about 75 percent of crimes in the United States and are much more likely to be on public assistance than those who complete high school. The cost to the public for these crime and welfare benefits is close to $200 billion annually. Dropouts earn only about 60 percent of what high school graduates earn and only about 40 percent of the income of college degree holders – resulting in about $50 billon dollars in lost state and federal tax revenues each year. Dropouts are much more likely to have health problems than non-dropouts. A 1% increase in high school completion rate would save the United States $1.4 billion annually in health care costs ----- Lindsey B.

What led some teenage mothers with LD to persist in school while others dropped out? Teenage mothers with LD and providers reported that, in contrast to those who dropped out of school, teenage mothers with LD who persisted experienced the following:
  • Support at home, including assistance with child care (e.g., family, boyfriend or other friends provided child care or helped find professional care), and encouragement related to school.
  • Support at school, including teacher support (e.g., caring relationships and needed academic support to accommodate their LD); positive relationships with peers (e.g., supportive friendship with no or limited threats of violence and ridicule); and accommodating enrollment and attendance policies (e.g., flexible limits on absences, ability to attend their own or their child's appointments and make up work).


Who Can Help?

Student Success Teams are intervention and prevention strategies for teenage dropouts in the United States. Counselors, teachers and other educators work together to help prevent teenage dropouts.