Alternatives to School Dropouts – A Program that Works

If you are an educator faced with talking to a potential dropout or their parent, you need to be aware of a recent study.

Students were randomly selected or rejected for the Youth Challenge program. Nine months after participants left the program, they were 36 percent more likely than those in the control group to have obtained a G.E.D. or a high school degree. They were more than three times as likely to be attending college and 9 percent more likely to be working full time.

The Youth Challenge program graduates more than 7,000 students from sites in 28 states. The program is run by the National Guard and is held mostly on military bases. They do not accept students with felony record and expel students who fail a drug test, steal or fight. Participation is voluntary. About 20 percent of those enrolled dropout, mainly in the first two weeks.

With President Obama’s emphasis on having every student graduate, as educators we need to be aware of successful alternatives to students dropping out.