A report released by America's Promise Alliance and Johns Hopkins' Everyone Graduates Center shows there are signs that America is reducing its national drop-out rate. The number of high schools in which 40 percent or more of the students failed to graduate declined from 2002 to 2008. Nationwide the number of schools with high drop-out rates fell from 2,007 in 2002 to 1,746 in 2008 according to Joanna Hornig Fox, Deputy Director of the Everyone Graduates Center.
"There's been some progress, we have a reduction in the number of schools in which we term 'drop out factories' which are those in which fewer than 60 percent of those entering ninth grade are likely to graduate," Fox said.
Pennsylvania's graduation rates, although better than they were in 2002, have not increased at the same rate as the national average. The state's graduation rate has dropped from 80.4 percent in 2005 to 77.6 percent in 2008, contrasting the national trend.
The Everyone Graduates Center focuses on why students drop out of school and what can be done to keep them in school. Fox's program includes a research arm and a comprehensive school reform effort that uses data analysis and has worked hands on with schools for about forty years.
This study is a follow-up to a study that was released in 2004. In that study, the organization researched what schools produced most of drop-outs, finding that 50 percent of the drop-outs in the country come from only 2,000 schools.
Fox also says that urban schools have continued to hurt gradutation rates in Pennsylvania. In 2002, 40 urban schools were considered drop-out factories, and in 2008 that number has risen to 47. For rural districts, the number has only risen from 1 to 3 in that timespan.