School Dropouts

May 16, 1962

Report Outline
Campaign to Keep Children in School
Reasons for Leaving School Early
New Approaches to Dropout Problem

Campaign to Keep Children in School

Many children soon to be let out of school for the summer will not go back to their desks next autumn. Past the age when they are required by law to attend classes, they will join the ranks of the dropouts—teenagers who have not finished high school and who in a great number of cases are not able to find jobs. Because they are idle and often emotionally unstable, these boys and girls are all too likely to get into trouble.

Anxiety over the presence of large numbers of poorly educated, unemployed youths in the community, particularly in slum neighborhoods, has led to the development of various strikingly new programs in the public schools—programs which are designed to awaken the interest of potential dropouts in completing their education and to prepare them for satisfactory employment after graduation. The majority of dropouts come from homes so economically and culturally impoverished that they are never able to learn much from standard school work. Most of them quit at the legal age—16 in most states—after a long history of school failure and retardation. Many of the experimental programs, therefore, seek to overcome the deleterious effects of substandard homes and neighborhoods on the aspirations and capabilities of youngsters.

Wide Interest in Attack on Dropout Problem

School authorities are watching these experiments closely, because they mark a major extension of the functions of public education in the direction of correcting a grave social ill. The programs have attracted so much attention that the U.S. Office of Education has asked those who have taken the lead in developing them to share their experience at a conference in Washington, May 21–23, on “Teaching Children and Youth Who Are Educationally Disadvantaged.”

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
School Dropouts
Apr. 21, 1989  Dropouts: An F for Education
Sep. 26, 1962  College Dropouts
May 16, 1962  School Dropouts
Education Policy
Students and Social Life