High school dropouts who later return to school still face major challenges, study finds

The LA Times reports:

For most high school dropouts, reality sets in sooner or later: Without a high school diploma, their prospects in life are limited at best.

A study released Thursday confirms that many California dropouts give school another try. But the California Dropout Research Project also reports that even dropouts who go back to school appear to stand little chance of success in college. And in an economy that increasingly prizes academic success, the outlook is bleak for those who don’t return to school at all.

“Kids who drop out of school are at risk in general — we know that,” said Russell Rumberger, a professor at UC Santa Barbara who leads the dropout project.

But, he added, he was alarmed by the study’s finding that one in three of the students who dropped out of 10th grade in 2004 were doing nothing four years later — not going to school or working.

“That is a disturbing number for our state,” Rumberger said…

The new report, based on previously published national data, found that roughly one in five California students who dropped out of 10th grade in 2004 returned to school and earned their diploma within four years. A slightly smaller percentage earned a high school equivalency degree, or GED.

In all, 54% received some sort of high school degree or were still in school working toward that goal, the study showed.

But while roughly half of the dropouts were at least making a stab at finishing high school, few were progressing past that. Ninety percent had either never enrolled in college or had enrolled and dropped out. By contrast, 60% of their peers who didn’t drop out of high school in their sophomore year were enrolled in college four years later.


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