Attrition in City High Schools

January 24, 2001 1 min read
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By comparing the number of students in 12th grade with the number of students in 9th grade, researchers determined the “promoting power” of schools as a way to study high school compensation rates.

School District

Total Number of
Sampled High

Number Schools
With <50%
Promoting Power

Percent Schools
With <50%

Indianapolis 5 5 100.0
El Paso, Texas 8 7 87.5
Detroit 22 17 77.3
Dallas 24 18 75.0
San Antonio 8 6 75.0
Milwaukee 15 11 73.3
Houston 25 18 72.0
Philadelphia 33 22 66.7
Columbus 17 11 64.7
New York City 100 64 64.0
Austin, Texas 10 6 60.0
Chicago 61 36 59.0
Baltimore 16 9 56.3
Fort Worth 11 6 54.6
Denver 10 5 50.0
Oklahoma City 8 4 50.0
Cleveland 13 5 38.5
District of Columbia 15 5 33.3
Nashville-Davidson County, Tenn. 13 4 30.8
Kansas City 10 3 30.0
Tucson, Ariz. 10 3 30.0
Duval County, Fla. 18 5 27.8
Orleans Parish, La. 18 4 22.2
Portland, Ore. 10 2 20.0
Memphis, Tenn. 27 4 14.8
San Diego 18 2 11.1
Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. 11 1 9.1
San Francisco 12 1 8.3
Boston 15 1 67
Long Beach, Calif. 6 0 0
Phoenix Union High, Ariz. 8 0 0
San Jose, Calif. 6 0 0
Seattle 10 0 0
Virginia Beach, Va. 9 0 0

NOTE: The 14 studies are available online at

SOURCE: “How Many Central City Schools Have a Severe Dropout Problem, Where Are They Located, and Who Attends Them?” by Robert Balfanz and Netti Legters of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

A version of this article appeared in the January 24, 2001 edition of Education Week as Attrition in City High Schools


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