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Survey: D.C. Kids Want To Graduate

A new Education Week study places on-time graduation rates for D.C. public schools at below 50 percent, but that's not because District students don't aspire to college. That's one of the findings of a survey by S.T.E.P. Up D.C. (Success Through Educational Progress), a network of youth-serving organizations.

Eighty-two percent of 1,000 middle and high school students in public and public charter schools said earlier this year that they wanted to obtain some form of higher education. Ninety-seven percent answered "agree" or "strongly agree" that graduation from high school is important to future success.

"There is a huge discrepancy between students' aspirations and where they end up," said Adam Levner, co-director of Critical Exposure, one of the two non-profits (along with the D.C. Alliance of Youth Advocates) that coordnates S.T.E.P. Up D.C.

Nearly 80 percent said family or financial concerns drive students to drop out. But they also identified several influences inside schools that they say keep graduation rates low. Fifty-five percent said they have been suspended at least once and two-thirds say unfair school rules such as suspension policies play a role in students quitting. (DCPS has recently revised its discipline code, in part to cut down on the use of out-of-school suspensions).

Safety emerged as a major concern: ninety-one percent said that more secure schools would probably increase graduation rates. Better teachers--and those engaged in students' lives-- also make a difference. Twenty-two percent said that were it not for a supportive teacher, they would be out of school.

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  June 10, 2009; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque , Education  
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"Twenty-two percent said that were it not for a supportive teacher, they would be out of school."

Only 22% were helped by teachers? Michelle Rhee should demand that all teachers urge their failing students to stay in school and if they drop out anyhow, the teacher should be fired. Departing students will be required to give the name of teachers who either successfully or unsuccessfully urged them to stay in school, so the firings will be properly data-driven.

kidding, kidding

Posted by: efavorite | June 10, 2009 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Do we have stats for DC youth that manage to graduate from HS, if not in the usual 4 years, then perhaps in Summer School or the 5th year? Is there a coorelation between lower income families and lower graduation rates? I know it sounds like a no-brainer, but stats are better than guesses.
Does anyone know why Public Charter School students were excluded and does their graduation rate look different or does it raise the overall rate, or not?

Posted by: Bfeely600 | June 10, 2009 2:06 PM | Report abuse

In other news, 98% of male students said they'd like to have a really, really big ...

Posted by: gbooksdc | June 10, 2009 10:33 PM | Report abuse

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