Why teens drop out — and come back

Abusive or absent parents, unsafe schools, gangs, homelessness and teen pregnancy make school a low priority for some high school students, concludes a GradNation report, Don’t Call Them Dropouts. Many of the “interrupted-enrollment students” interviewed in 16 cities said “nobody cared” if they stayed in school.

A “caring connection” with an adult who can help with problem solving could keep many of these teens on track, the report said. It also recommended “fewer exit ramps” from school and easier re-entry.

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  1. Richard Aubrey says:

    “nobody cared”?
    How about celebs, athletes, clergy, teachers, administrators, government officials, all telling them about how they need to stay in school?
    If they have a lousy home life, family or immediate neighborhood, that’s sort of the reponsibility of the family or neighbors. And what, I ask rhetorically, is society prepared to do about that?
    Yeah, some of them could use an advocate with considerable power to solve some of the issues. How many kids could one advocate help? How long until the advocate came under fire for…cultural insensivity, etc.? Who’s paying for this and how many administrators would there be per advocate? One to one to start, is my guess.
    Shouldn’t social workers already be doing this? Why not? Right. Same reasons that would constrain the advocate.
    Back to family and neighbors.

    • The non-rhetorical answer to your rhetorical question seems to be to put more authority in the hands of the one group in those kids lives who reflexively give a damn what happens to them.

  2. palisadesk says:

    There is nothing new here. Research and anecdotal data both have documented for some time that when kids have a positive relationship with one (or more) adults at school — be it teacher, coach, youth worker, janitor or volunteer — they are much more likely to stay in school. Kids often find the transition from elementary to high school a depersonalizing and alienating experience, and the “caring relationship” doesn’t have to be an especially time-consuming one. Staff who make a point of greeting kids individually, taking note of individual interests etc., and showing genuine warmth to the student are creating the basis of the needed “caring relationship.”

    It’s difficult in large schools but some have found ways to get around it and facilitate personal connections. We don’t need a cadre of specific employees to do this!

    • Richard Aubrey says:

      Thing is, some kids won’t react, some are hostile, some don’t care. Some have other issues. The article spoke of outside problems, which are not susceptible of solution by teachers and other ed staff.