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Researchers Pinpoint High Schools With Low Graduation Rates

High schools that have high dropout rates are concentrated in 17 states, which produce 70 percent of the country's dropouts, according to a new report from Johns Hopkins University and Jobs For the Future.

In a Webinar presented yesterday by the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media, the report's two co-authors detailed the locations of the high-dropout-rate high schools, and discussed factors that must be considered in designing strategies to improve them.

Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins' Everyone Graduates Center and Adria Steinberg of Jobs For the Future—nationally recognized experts on this topic—cautioned against using a one-size-fits-all approach in these high schools. They advocate district-state-federal partnerships, and strategies carefully designed with the needs and challenges of each high school in mind.

Cognizant of Ed Secretary Arne Duncan's push to turn around the nation's 5,000 lowest-performing schools, Balfanz and Steinberg made some specific recommendations about how federal policy can further that goal at the high school level. Included were requiring states seeking federal "Race to the Top" funding to use analytic graduation-rate data as part of their plan to turn those schools around, and targeting federal financing to places with the most urgent dropout problems.

The Webinar is archived here and the report is here.

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