“Don’t Call Them Dropouts”, the largest nationwide study of its kind to date, found students who leave high school without graduating do so not out of boredom or lack of motivation, but because they are overwhelmed by the effects of toxic living conditions on their daily lives, including homelessness, violent surroundings, abuse or neglect, catastrophic family health events, and the absence of caring adults who can help them stay in school.
The study was conducted by America’s Promise Alliance’s research arm, the Center for Promise at Tufts University and was sponsored by Target. #NotDropouts
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- It’s a report that gives us a deeper understanding of what’s happening in the lives of people who don’t graduate from high school on time, by listening deeply to their own descriptions of their lived experiences.
- It is the largest report of its kind undertaken to date (more than 220 in-depth interviews, and 3,000 online surveys completed), giving solid results.
- The young people expressed a variety of things, including the fact that they don’t want to be called dropouts because they don’t believe they’ve dropped out of anything. Rather, they reacted adverse life situations that came from being in toxic living environments. These circumstances piled up and demanded increasing shares of their attention, and they often persisted without the help of any caring adults in their lives.
- What young people need is a voice in solutions that involve them; coordinated, wrap-around supports that help them to meet their various challenges; and most importantly, the support of caring adults to help them navigate their circumstances.
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