Over the past 20 years, the U.S. Department of Education has reported a steady decline in the numbers of students who drop out of school before graduating. It says the rate dropped from 12 percent in 1990 to 7 percent in 2011.
But a stark figure remains: On average, about one million students leave every year before graduation.
In this special program, American Graduate: Crossing the Stage, host Dick Gordon looks at ways – some innovative and some traditional – that educators are trying to keep students in school and help them succeed in the careers they choose.
Featured in the program: Russ Rumberger, director of the California Research Project, who is looking at some alternative paths students can follow to take to college; Emily Hanford, a radio producer who looked at the history of the GED test, and found how it is changing; and Julia Pointer Putnam, the principal of the Grace and James Lee Boggs School in Detroit, which focuses on community involvement and students’ creative thinking.
Also featured are three students who broke against the current: Dashawn Richardson from Durham, N.C., credits an English teacher for mentoring him; Shi Leach from Greensboro, N.C., got help from the program in his state and is now a college freshman; and Bailey Karpa from Vancouver, Wa., who found out she was pregnant at age 16, and got help from a program called GRADS that gives day care and parenting lessons to teen parents.