THE CHALLENGE

With 7,000 new dropouts each day¹, our country faces a crisis of epidemic proportions. Although graduation rates have been slowly improving, they are not shifting fast enough to keep up with the rate of population growth, leaving us with millions of uneducated, unemployable adults²³⁴… and counting.

It’s easy to think of this as an education problem. But the impact reaches far beyond the school system. If we do nothing, an education problem becomes an economic problem, a criminal justice problem, a public safety problem⁵. Communities pay the price, often for generations⁶.

EVERY 26

SECONDS

a student drops out of high school in the U.S¹.

THE TRUE COST OF EVERY DROPOUT

$292k

lifetime deficit to economy⁷

$40,500

in public health system costs⁸

6X

more likely to go to prison⁷

1.5X

more likely to be unemployed⁷

1.4X

more likely to be low income⁷

CALIFORNIA STUDENTS ARE FALLING BEHIND

The statistics are staggeringly clear. Every dropout generates a huge increase in the risk of poverty and crime — and our communities pay the price. Solving the dropout epidemic is a critical step toward building a better California for us all.


CALIFORNIA GRADUATION STATISTICS

57,491 DROPOUTS

in 2013⁹

RANKS
23rd

in graduation rates¹⁰

RANKS
33rd

in education achievement¹¹

RANKS
41st

in employment¹²

COMMON OBSTACLES FOR AT-RISK STUDENTS

For at-risk students, difficulties with lecture, discussion and reading comprehension contribute to low performance in classroom settings where subjects are commonly taught this way¹³. It is critical to provide flexibility in how, where and when they learn.

Dasmond

Trouble with reading made learning a constant struggle — and he was on the verge of dropping out…

See Dasmond's story

"Fewer than 9% of students learn in the same way¹³"

Frequent or abrupt changes in family structure are linked to problem behaviors, lower vocabulary skills and increased risk of dropping out ¹⁵. These students require extra emotional and material support that they may be lacking at home.

Daniel

Enduring trouble at home and his parents’ divorce, school was the furthest thing from his mind…

See Daniel's story

"At least ½ of students have lived in single-parent households."

Gang-involved youth are much more likely to engage in all kinds of detrimental behaviors, including dropping out of school¹⁵. It is critical to provide on-on-one counseling and mentorship to help these at-risk students turn their lives around, before it’s too late.

Alan

Hanging out with the wrong crowd got him kicked out of school twice. He didn’t think there was a future…

See Alan's story

"Confidence alone can improve academic performance by as much as 12%"

It’s difficult to think about studying when food is scarce. Low family income negatively impacts social, emotional, cognitive and academic outcomes ¹⁵. For students who live in poverty, basic needs must be met for optimal learning to occur.

Daniel

Finding food, warmth and shelter were his highest priorities, and he didn’t have energy left for school…

See Daniel's story

"On average, disadvantaged students complete 2 years less of school."

Teen pregnancy is the number one cause of female dropouts¹⁷ and a factor for as many as 30% of male dropouts¹⁸. Young parents need flexible scheduling and the ability to bring infants to school with them if childcare isn’t available.

Elizabeth

Getting pregnant at the age of 14 meant dropping out of school to take care of her baby…

See Elizabeth's story

"16% of teen girls will have a baby before they turn 20."


CHANGING THE STORY

Solving the dropout epidemic takes more than hard work and caring— it requires a complete new way of addressing the problem.

Learn about OUR APPROACH