School & District Management

Cities in Crisis: Closing the Graduation Gap

By Chris Swanson — May 26, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Educational and Economic Conditions in America’s Largest Cities

Excerpt from Introduction—The Rising Stakes of Graduation

The condition of the nation’s high schools stands as a central concern among both educators and policymakers. In particular, independent research—once viewed as controversial but now increasingly acknowledged by elected and appointed officials in the highest levels of government—has revealed a state of affairs in which three in ten students fail to finish high school with a diploma and in which barely half of historically disadvantaged minority students graduate. The term “crisis” has frequently, and rightly, been used to describe the challenges facing America’s high schools.

Full Report Download
2009 Report: Cities in Crisis PDF

This report, a successor to 2008’s Cities in Crisis, takes stock of high school graduation in the nation’s 50 largest cities and their broader metropolitan areas. In addition, we will consider the progress that has been made—or, in some cases, the ground that has been lost—during the past decade. While the scale of the dropout crisis remains troubling, it is worth noting that the majority of the nation’s largest cities have seen improvements in their graduation rates over this period and that some of those gains have been substantial.

Closing the Graduation Gap also maps the intersection between education and the economy, as it relates to the impact of schooling on the key economic outcomes of employment, income, and poverty. Specifically, our focus will be on the nation’s largest metropolitan areas and the local advantages that accrue to earning a high school diploma. In today’s world, of course, finishing high school is probably best thought of as a bare-minimum prerequisite to function successfully in many aspects of adult life, particularly those associated with achieving financial security and career advancement. As our analyses will demonstrate, a high school diploma may offer its greatest benefit by opening doors to further education and training, which in turn afford additional opportunities.

Read the full report in PDF.


Budget & Finance Webinar Leverage New Funding Sources with Data-Informed Practices
Address the whole child using data-informed practices, gain valuable insights, and learn strategies that can benefit your district.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Classroom Technology Webinar
ChatGPT & Education: 8 Ways AI Improves Student Outcomes
Revolutionize student success! Don't miss our expert-led webinar demonstrating practical ways AI tools will elevate learning experiences.
Content provided by Inzata
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum Tech Is Everywhere. But Is It Making Schools Better?
Join us for a lively discussion about the ways that technology is being used to improve schools and how it is falling short.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School & District Management Opinion When It Comes to Leadership, Self-Awareness Matters. Here's Why
One leader learned she had a habit of shutting down others' ideas instead of inspiring them. Here's how she changed.
Robin Shrum
6 min read
Picture1 6.19.32 AM
Robin Shrum
School & District Management Opinion Don’t Bewail Summer Vacation for Students, Rethink It
Students experience summer vacation differently, depending on family resources. We should rethink the tradition with that in mind.
2 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School & District Management Women in K-12 Leadership Don't Get Enough Support. Here's What Needs to Change
Fairer family-leave policies, pay transparency, better data collection, and more on-the-job support are elements of the plan.
7 min read
Illustration showing diversity with multi-colored human figures.
School & District Management School Counselors Face 'Role Ambiguity.' This State Tried to Clarify Matters
New York's new regulations didn't always change how principals viewed or interacted with school counselors, research finds.
5 min read
Man trapped in maze.
Man trapped in maze.
iStock/Getty Images Plus