Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Since the mid-20th century, concern in the United States has escalated about students who leave the formal education system before completing at least a high school diploma. Recent high school dropout rates are often described as a “crisis,” particularly in big cities, where the figures may be as high as 50 percent. Nationally, a common statistic is that around 30 percent of those who start high school never complete a regular high school diploma, although different methods of calculating the rate yield dramatically different estimates. The numbers also vary substantially by gender, socioeconomic status, and ethnic background. Still, a large share of dropouts—upward of 50 percent—do eventually attain a high school-level credential, most often by completing the general education development (GED) credential. Since the 1970s, the percentage of young adults earning GEDs has gone up, statistically offsetting a small rise in the dropout rate during the same period. But GED ...