McCallumore, Kyle M.; Sparapani, Ervin F.
March 2010
Education;Spring2010, Vol. 130 Issue 3, p447
Academic Journal
According to the title of a Robert Fulghum book, all one really needs to know they learned in kindergarten (Fulghum, 1989). Evaluating the national high school graduation rates over the past thirty years, and noting the steady decline in these numbers, which accelerated in the 1990s (Wheelock & Miao, 2005), it would be easy to disagree with Mr. Fulghum. While Mr. Fulghum is merely trying to give an appealing title to a book of short essays, there is really not much appealing about the reality of the problems in the American education system that permeate beyond kindergarten. Graduation rates are one of the most troubling concerns. Despite millions of federal dollars invested in research on students at risk of dropping out of high school, the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) estimates in November, 2001, that each year for the past decade over half a million students have left school before graduation (Seastrom, Hoffman, Chapman, & Stillwell, 2005). Unfortunately, this increase in the dropout rate has occurred at a time when there seems such a large emphasis on getting a college degree, much less a high school diploma, and being able to compete in a global world (Neild, Balfanz, & Herzog, 2007). Increased graduation requirements and rocky transitions from middle school to high school seem to comprise a majority of the reasons for students struggling, failing, and dropping out. Since high school graduation requirements and the transition to high school both involve the ninth grade, a lot of research has focused on the importance of the ninth-grade year. Solutions to help ease the transition to high school, including the development of freshman academies and an emphasis on students both before and after ninth grade, are underway to boost freshman success, and in the long run reduce high school dropout rates.


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