Understanding Why Kids Drop Out

February 16, 2015

While high school graduation rates continue to rise in the United States, many low-income communities lag behind the national average. High school dropouts are more likely than graduates to be unemployed, live in poverty, have health problems, receive public assistance, have a prison record, and have children who also drop out. With such a long list of negative consequences, it is critical that all kids have the opportunity and support needed to finish high school. A study sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation explored the reasons why young people drop out as a first step to determining how to respond to and implement positive changes. The main reasons are as follows:

  • Kids who dropped out of high school reported that their parents were not very involved in their education or became involved only when they were already on the verge of dropping out.
  • Many young people did not feel challenged by or supported in school and didn’t see how completing school was relevant to their lives and options for the future.
  • Fewer than 50% of youth reported knowing a teacher or counselor who they could talk to about their problems.
  • A significant number of students also cited increased freedom and lack of positive supervision coupled with non-academic distractions as contributing to their decision to drop out.
  • Many students mentioned personal problems as a reason for dropping out, including becoming a parent, needing to get a job, or having to care for sick family members.

Perhaps most significantly, the study found that three quarters of dropouts regret their decision and would stay in school if they had it to do over again.

tCI programs offer academic, social, and financial support, mentoring, and resources for key parenting skills. All tCI youth programs give participants the opportunity to form relationships with caring adult role models. The Parenting program helps parents become more involved in their children’s lives, which can have a huge impact on their academic success. The Reflections mentoring group helps kids get back in school and works with them to find alternative school options when necessary.

Consider making a donation to Reflections or one of tCI’s many programs to help make sure that all kids have the opportunity and support needed to finish high school. With your help we can ensure that more kids reach adulthood equipped with the tools they need for personal and socioeconomic success.

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