Dropout rate

So I do note the press coverage of some apparent indignation over a Rand report just out on the rate of graduation in Pittsburgh Public schools. I must admit I did a double take myself when I saw the number that 35% or so do not make it to graduation. Knowing some of the people who worked on this, I have to believe the numbers are as correct as they can be. A couple things that went through my head. One is that because we have so many school districts in the county and region, the stats for the city of Pittsburgh reflect a more concentrated urban center city population than compared to many other large school districts in the country, which are often consolidated to the county level. To be clear, high dropout rates are bad, but how to compare them between different jurisdictions can be tricky. Many City of Pittsburgh stats reflect the fact that the city is just a small part, in both population and land area, of the county and smaller still of the region. That impacts a whole lot of metrics. The city of Pittsburgh also has a fairly high incidence of private school education which includes parochial education. So the PPS student base is actually an even smaller part of the overall student base in the region.

All that aside, 35% dropout rate is bad no matter. The racial disparities are just as troubling. There is a crisis in the country with the rate of young black men winding up in the criminal justice system at one point or another. Hard to finish school, let alone ever find a job in this country once you have a criminal record. You wind up being forced into the shadow economy for the most part. The declining labor force participation rate of Black men is a documented trend that is clearly tied to this.


1 Response to "Dropout rate"

Amos_thePokerCat said... 7/17/2006 10:46 PM

Leher on June 27th aired a report High School Drop-out Rates Rise. Transcript, audio, and streaming video availble.

Like most numbers, the rate depends on how you define HS graduation. Do you count GEDs? How long? 4 year rate? Number of diplomas awarded compared to the 17 year old population?

Nationally ... by the loosest definitions, around 82% graduate, 75% for minorities. By the strictest, 70% overall, with around 50% for minorities.

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