Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It

Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It

by Russell W. Rumberger
     
 

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The vast majority of kids in the developed world finish high school—but not in the United States. More than a million kids drop out every year, around 7,000 a day, and the numbers are rising. Dropping Out offers a comprehensive overview by one of the country’s leading experts, and provides answers to fundamental questions: Who drops out, and

Overview

The vast majority of kids in the developed world finish high school—but not in the United States. More than a million kids drop out every year, around 7,000 a day, and the numbers are rising. Dropping Out offers a comprehensive overview by one of the country’s leading experts, and provides answers to fundamental questions: Who drops out, and why? What happens to them when they do? How can we prevent at-risk kids from short-circuiting their futures?

Students start disengaging long before they get to high school, and the consequences are severe—not just for individuals but for the larger society and economy. Dropouts never catch up with high school graduates on any measure. They are less likely to find work at all, and more likely to live in poverty, commit crimes, and suffer health problems. Even life expectancy for dropouts is shorter by seven years than for those who earn a diploma.

Rumberger advocates targeting the most vulnerable students as far back as the early elementary grades. And he levels sharp criticism at the conventional definition of success as readiness for college. He argues that high schools must offer all students what they need to succeed in the workplace and independent adult life. A more flexible and practical definition of achievement—one in which a high school education does not simply qualify you for more school—can make school make sense to young people. And maybe keep them there.

Editorial Reviews

Henry M. Levin
The standard work on one of the most troubling challenges in U.S. education--beautifully written, authoritative, and insightful, covering everything from the causes of dropping out to effective solutions.
Gary Orfield
Dropouts have little future in the American economy, but about half of Latino and Black men are leaving school without the diplomas they need. Russ Rumberger has devoted his career to this issue and he powerfully documents the costs of dropouts to our society. This comprehensive book is an essential resource for reform.
Jack Jennings
Russ Rumberger has written the definitive book on school dropouts. His learned analysis leads to recommendations for action to address this crisis.
Bob Wise
Russell Rumberger's Dropping Out is the most thorough and timely analysis now available of the complex causes and terrible consequences of dropping out of high school. Rumberger provides teachers, administrators, and policymakers with essential knowledge to address a continuing crisis. Dropping Out demonstrates again the necessity of education in an information age economy, and shows how increasing high school graduation rates will be essential for local, state, and national economic strength.
Booklist - Vanessa Bush
[A] sobering look at one aspect of many crises facing U.S. schools. Drawing on both education policy and economics, [Rumberger] explores the cost of this crisis to the dropouts and American society in terms of higher unemployment, lower wages, and less of a contribution to the tax base.
Washington Post - Jay Mathews
The most complete examination of the dropout issue I have ever seen [is] Russell W. Rumberger's Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It...Rumberger examines every complex nuance, summarizes every important research paper and demolishes every Internet myth. His book is a masterpiece, something education wonks will keep close by...We can't make any improvements, however, without knowing what hasn't helped dropouts, and why. On those vital questions, this book will be the best resource for years to come.
Education Next - A. Graham Down
[Dropping Out] is not only definitive, but positively masterful in its treatment of a vitally important subject...Russell Rumberger's prescriptions, if heeded, would be truly revolutionary. This fact alone should make this volume required reading for any serious student of school reform. His treatment is exhaustive, his writing style energizing, his message urgent and his analysis powerful. I recommend it highly.
21st Century Scholar - Bill Tierney
The book is superb. It is erudite, scholarly, engaging, and provocative...[Rumberger] works his way patiently through the familial, organizational, and individual characteristics that influence dropping out. He then walks us through the nature, consequences, causes, and possible solutions...Rumberger calls upon all methodologies and various strands of programs to consider what possible solutions might look like. He is someone who is big on accountability, and consistent in the observation that systemic change will take time. He recognizes that students may drop out of a school, but much of the work to lessen dropping out will occur with families and in communities.
Booklist

[A] sobering look at one aspect of many crises facing U.S. schools. Drawing on both education policy and economics, [Rumberger] explores the cost of this crisis to the dropouts and American society in terms of higher unemployment, lower wages, and less of a contribution to the tax base.
— Vanessa Bush

Washington Post

The most complete examination of the dropout issue I have ever seen [is] Russell W. Rumberger's Dropping Out: Why Students Drop Out of High School and What Can Be Done About It...Rumberger examines every complex nuance, summarizes every important research paper and demolishes every Internet myth. His book is a masterpiece, something education wonks will keep close by...We can't make any improvements, however, without knowing what hasn't helped dropouts, and why. On those vital questions, this book will be the best resource for years to come.
— Jay Mathews

Education Next

[Dropping Out] is not only definitive, but positively masterful in its treatment of a vitally important subject...Russell Rumberger's prescriptions, if heeded, would be truly revolutionary. This fact alone should make this volume required reading for any serious student of school reform. His treatment is exhaustive, his writing style energizing, his message urgent and his analysis powerful. I recommend it highly.
— A. Graham Down

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674062207
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
10/15/2011
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
400
Sales rank:
1,279,862
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.40(d)

What People are saying about this

Bob Wise
Russell Rumberger's Dropping Out is the most thorough and timely analysis now available of the complex causes and terrible consequences of dropping out of high school. Rumberger provides teachers, administrators, and policymakers with essential knowledge to address a continuing crisis. Dropping Out demonstrates again the necessity of education in an information age economy, and shows how increasing high school graduation rates will be essential for local, state, and national economic strength.
Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education
Jack Jennings
Russ Rumberger has written the definitive book on school dropouts. His learned analysis leads to recommendations for action to address this crisis.
Jack Jennings, President and CEO, Center on Education Policy
Gary Orfield
Dropouts have little future in the American economy, but about half of Latino and Black men are leaving school without the diplomas they need. Russ Rumberger has devoted his career to this issue and he powerfully documents the costs of dropouts to our society. This comprehensive book is an essential resource for reform.
Gary Orfield, University of California, Los Angeles
Henry M. Levin
The standard work on one of the most troubling challenges in U.S. education--beautifully written, authoritative, and insightful, covering everything from the causes of dropping out to effective solutions.
Henry M. Levin, Columbia University

Meet the Author

Russell W. Rumberger is Vice Provost for Educational Partnerships at the University of California Office of the President and Professor of Education at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

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