Programs and Policies to Assist High School Dropouts in the Transition to Adulthood

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Princeton University and the Brookings Institution

This selection among nine articles in this latest publication of The Future of Children highlights the work of 11 programs for high school dropouts, either employment- or education-based, all of which have been evaluated for the past 30 years.

Author Dan Bloom of the public policy organization MDRC, writes that there is a thin research basis establishing the success of these “second-chance” programs. Bloom’s research shows that some programs helped participants in the short-term with finding jobs and increasing earnings, but that none of the program studies that spanned several years showed the former dropouts to have long-lasting success. Ultimately, Bloom calls for more spending on and growth in programs for high school dropouts – both to expand and improve existing programs and to experiment with new methods.

Other topics covered in the publication, a joint project of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and the Brookings Institution that publishes two journals and policy briefs every year, focus on research about children and youth, including civic engagement, the military, vulnerable populations, higher education and immigration.

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