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Reversing the Dropout Crisis for African Americans Reversing the Dropout Crisis for African Americans

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Reversing the Dropout Crisis for African Americans

Posted on Sat, Aug 25, 2007

Reversing the Dropout Crisis for African Americans
As parents, educators, school boards and students prepare for the 2007-2008 school year, the NAACP Educaiton Department offers the following points for consideration.
There is a major crisis in our high schools that it is disproportionately affecting students of color. Unacceptably large high school dropout rates are threatening to derail the hopes and aspirations of our community as well as the future of our most precious resource – our children.
Approximately 1 million children drop out of school each year. Nearly 50 percent of African American students who drop out are leaving school with less than two years left to complete their high school education.There is clearly a need for focused, deliberate action to reverse this trend.
Consider the statistical profile for a student of color leaving high school without obtaining a regular high school diploma as compiled recently by the Alliance for Excellent Education.
· In the 2006–07 school year, 1.2 million students failed to graduate with their class; a majority of these non-graduates were racial and ethnic minorities (EPE Research Center 2007).
· In the 2003–04 school year, only 53.4 percent of black students, 49.3 percent of American Indian and Alaska Native students, and 57.8 percent of Hispanic students graduated on time (EPE Research Center 2007).
· In the 2003–04 school year, only 46.2 percent of Black boys, 44.6 percent of American Indian and Alaska native boys, and 52.3 percent of Hispanic boys graduated on time (EPE Research Center 2007).
· Graduation rates for Asian Pacific American (APA) students are unaccounted for and their needs often overlooked because existing data is not disaggregated to illustrate the dire circumstances of many students from various APA communities.
· The nation’s minority students are four times more likely to attend a high school with very low graduation rates (60 percent or lower) than the nation’s non-minority students (Balfanz and Legters 2004).
Current research shows conclusively that students of color who fail to graduate from high school are more likely to be unemployed, on public assistance programs, incarcerated, in poor health, and more likely to die at younger ages. The NAACP’s 2001 Call for Action in Education is the Association’s organic guide for education reform and advocacy.
Based on that document, the NAACP Education Department proposes the following 10-point plan of action for arresting and reversing the dropout trend among African American high school students:
1. Schools and districts must work closely and aggressively with NAACP units and state conferences to involve parents and entire communities more intimately in the educational process of young people in that community.
2. Closely and consistently monitor student progress through a variety of assessment and evaluation methods beyond one high stakes standardized test.
3. Involve local business, community colleges, and technical/vocational institutions in cooperative partnerships that provide alternate routes to receiving a regular high school diploma.
4. Standardize the methods for defining, calculating and reporting on dropout rates for all students.
5. Develop programs EARLY that are designed to prevent students from dropping out.
6. Ensure that teachers and administrators have the resources and support necessary to educate all students.
7. Hold schools accountable for decreasing their dropout rates and increasing their graduation rates.
8. End the over-identification and under-servicing of minority students in special education programs.
9. Provide schools with the resources to ensure that curricular material is culturally relevant.
10. Decrease resource inequities between and among schools.
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.  Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.
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