Recommendations from Youth Conference on the Dropout Rate

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Ellen Lubell, The Children's Aid Society, 212-949-4938
Emily Crossan, The Children's Aid Society, 917-286-1548

Earlier today at the Youth Speak Out on Education Conference presented by The Children's Aid Society and the Audrey Miller Poritzky Education Fund for Children, participating teens released a set of recommendations for finding solutions to the dropout crisis.

The Children’s Aid Society’s youth advisory council is a leadership body of teens aged 14 years and older. Last year, youth from this program organized a youth conference that addressed the dropout rate and discussed its causes via skits and presentations. This year, the youth advisory council gathered information about solutions to the dropout rate from Children’s Aid teens across all programs and sites, including centers and community schools, our leadership programs, Boys & Girls Clubs of America Keystone groups, Hope Leadership Academy, Next Generation Center and youth development programs. From the gathered information they formulated their recommendations.

Their recommendations for high schools are:
• Institute a consistent curriculum that doesn’t change every year or two.
• Provide a clear set of standards and a commitment to provide the resources that youth need to attain those standards.
• Let students achieve the stated educational goals. “Raising the bar” continually actually prevents more youth from reaching educational goals.
• Create smaller classes and maintain smaller class sizes.
• Provide more guidance counselors who can assist with educational issues.
• Provide more after-school programs that are skill-based and that focus on the needs of older adolescents.
• Provide employment programs that give students a chance to work, and “earn while they learn.”
• Provide day care services and mentoring services for young mothers when needed.

These recommendations are based on students’ real experiences in high schools.