CRESPAR Report #70: Locating the Dropout Crisis: Which High Schools Produce the Nation's Dropouts? Where are They Located? Who Attends Them?

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Fifty years after Brown vs. the Board of Education, the image of public high schools providing all youth with equal opportunity to receive a high-quality education remains inspiring and compelling. Current reality, however, offers a much more troubled picture. Throughout much of the nation, half or more of high school students do not graduate, let alone leave high school prepared to fully participate in civic life. It is no coincidence that these locales are gripped by high rates of unemployment, crime, ill health, and chronic despair. For many in these and other areas, the only real and lasting pipeline out of poverty in modern America, a solid high school education followed by postsecondary schooling or training, is cracked and broken.
The Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk (CRESPAR) was established in 1994 and continued until 2004. It was a collaboration between Johns Hopkins University and Howard University. CRESPAR’s mission was to conduct research, development, evaluation, and dissemination of replicable strategies designed to transform schooling for students who were placed at risk due to inadequate institutional responses to such factors as poverty, ethnic minority status, and non-English-speaking home background.
CRESPAR, Center for Research on the Education of Students Placed at Risk, Dropout Crisis