School Dropouts

Survey of Local Programs Gao ID: HRD-87-108 July 20, 1987

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the nature and extent of the school dropout problem and identified local programs' efforts to prevent or overcome the problem.

GAO found that the programs it surveyed: (1) targeted poor and minority teenagers, age 16 or younger, with multiple problems; (2) provided multiple services such as basic education, counseling, and social services assistance; and (3) cited several program elements necessary to reduce dropout rates, such as a caring and committed staff, a secure learning environment, and individualized instruction. GAO also found that: (1) about 75 percent of the programs encourage parental involvement; (2) 70 percent offer assistance in job searches; (3) 50 percent help youth prepare for a high school equivalency certificate; and (4) 20 percent offer child day-care services. In addition, GAO found that obstacles to program effectiveness include: (1) school and class overcrowding; (2) troubled homes with apathetic parents; (3) poor academic preparation before high school; (4) a negative image of dropout programs; and (5) problems in program implementation.

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