To Keep Students in School, Get Them Through Ninth Grade

A University of Chicago study finds that the Chicago Public School system’s emphasis on early high school success is working.

CHICAGO - JULY 6: Student Valisha Powell demonstrates the installation of a network interface card (NIC) in a computer at Farragut High School's library July 7, 2004 in Chicago. As part of a new Chicago Public Schools program called NetTech, a paid summer technology mentoring initiative, students will learn how to and later actually upgrade excising wired and wireless networks at 20 CPS high schools to the latest technologies. The seven-week program will partner students directly with IT professionals on job-related assignments. (Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Quinton
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Sophie Quinton
April 27, 2014, 10:55 p.m.

Here’s a roundup of the edu­ca­tion art­icles that caught Next Amer­ica’s eye from April 21 to 28. All ad­dress trends that par­tic­u­larly af­fect minor­ity stu­dents.

Proof that Ninth Grade is Crit­ic­al. Chica­go Pub­lic Schools’ ef­forts to help stu­dents ad­just to high school and suc­ceed in ninth grade are already lower­ing dro­pout rates, ac­cord­ing to a new study from the Uni­versity of Chica­go Con­sor­ti­um on Chica­go School Re­search. Between 2007 and 2013, the share of stu­dents passing ninth grade with enough cred­its to en­sure sopho­more stand­ing jumped from 57 to 82 per­cent. Three schools that saw sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments in 2008 saw their over­all gradu­ation rates jump four years later. At 20 of the schools that saw strong ini­tial gains in 2008 and 2009, Afric­an-Amer­ic­an and Latino boys showed the greatest im­prove­ment. Uni­versity of Chica­go

For Grad Stu­dents, It’s Bet­ter To Be White. Would-be gradu­ate stu­dents with white, male-sound­ing names are more likely to get a re­sponse when they write to a fac­ulty mem­ber seek­ing ment­or­ship, a new study finds. Three re­search­ers sent let­ters to more than 6,000 fac­ulty mem­bers across a range of dis­cip­lines, ask­ing about re­search op­por­tun­it­ies and the chance to learn about the pro­fess­or’s work. Let­ters that were signed with white, male names were more likely to get a re­sponse from fac­ulty in all dis­cip­lines. In every cat­egory, pub­lic uni­versity pro­fess­ors were more likely to re­spond to wo­men and minor­ity stu­dents than fac­ulty at private col­leges. In­side High­er Ed

When The Death of a Par­ent Means A Big Stu­dent Loan Bill. Stu­dents who take out private loans to pay for col­lege can face sud­den de­mands for full re­pay­ment if the co-sign­er on their loan — usu­ally a re­l­at­ive or par­ent — passes away, ac­cord­ing to the Con­sumer Fin­an­cial Pro­tec­tion Bur­eau. After a co-sign­er’s death or bank­ruptcy, some bor­row­ers can be placed in de­fault without ever re­ceiv­ing a re­quest for re­pay­ment. The CFPB’s stu­dent loan om­buds­man says that a steady stream of con­sumer com­plaints sug­gests that such “auto-de­faults” may be be­com­ing more com­mon. New York Times

What Happened to 2013’s High School Gradu­ates? Just un­der two-thirds of 2013’s high school gradu­ates were in col­lege by the fall of that year, ac­cord­ing to the Bur­eau of Labor stat­ist­ics — the low­est share since 2006. As the eco­nomy im­proves, it ap­pears that more young people are choos­ing to enter the work­force rather than con­tinu­ing their edu­ca­tion. More than 79 per­cent of Asi­an high school gradu­ates en­rolled dir­ectly in col­lege, com­pared to 67 per­cent of whites, 59 per­cent of Afric­an-Amer­ic­ans, and 60 per­cent of His­pan­ics. Bur­eau of Labor Stat­ist­ics, Fiv­eThirtyEight

The Be­ne­fits of Be­ing a Leg­acy. At 30 top col­leges, chil­dren of alumni have a 45 per­cent great­er chance of ad­mis­sion. Be­ing a leg­acy gives a stu­dent an ad­mis­sions ad­vant­age nearly equal to be­ing a star ath­lete or un­der­rep­res­en­ted minor­ity, ac­cord­ing to re­search cited by Evan J. Mandery, a pro­fess­or at John Jay Col­lege of Crim­in­al Justice, in an opin­ion piece for the New York Times. Giv­ing leg­acy stu­dents a leg-up re­in­forces in­equal­ity, he writes. New York Times

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