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Raising Their Voices: Engaging Students, Teachers, and Parents to Help End the High School Dropout Epidemic

Abstract

A new report, the fourth in a series, unites different perspectives to examine the causes of the nation's dropout problem. The survey, by the Washington-based public-policy group Civic Enterprises, builds on previous reports that separately chronicled the perspectives of students, parents, and teachers by bringing all three groups together in discussions held at schools in Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, and Kingston, Tenn.

By uniting those viewpoints, the new report attempts to demonstrate that there is significant agreement about the barriers that hinder students from progressing into college or careers. Students at times fail to see how coursework is relevant to their future, the report says, and teachers are often unable to reinforce that relevance because of large class sizes, a lack of school support, and the pressure of standardized testing. Likewise, parents may be impeded from giving positive academic reinforcement by multiple jobs and single parenthood. The report contends that to succeed in lowering the dropout rate, any reforms must be coupled with personal responsibility and cooperation among different groups involved.

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