As we all know, gangs, drugs, poverty and academic failure are on the rise for too many youth and teenagers throughout America and across the globe.  Given the absence of caring adults and mentors, many of our youth face an uncertain future as they are more likely to succumb to the destructive influences of distressed communities and schools, repeating the cycle of hopelessness and despair.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation calls this “The Silent Epidemic” and Time Magazine refers to it as “Drop Out Nation!” According to statistics:

o   -In 2006, the United States had the highest child poverty rate in the developed world at 21.9 percent.

o   -Of the 13 million children growing up in poverty in the U.S., only half will graduate high school.

o   -Dropouts are more likely than their peers to be unemployed, live in poverty, have poor health, depend upon social services, and go to jail.

o   -The combined loss of income and revenue to the American economy from a single year’s dropouts is about $192 billion.

o   -In Charlotte, NC, alone, there is an average of 2,000 or more students that dropout of school each year.  Over half of these dropouts are African-American and Hispanics are close behind.

o     In 2014,The Poverty Rate at Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools holds steady at 54%. Charlotte observer 2014

o     In 2013, 1,200 CMS school students dropped out. 2013 Mecklenburg county child snapshot

  •  In 2013, 57% of students enrolled in CMS are considered ecnomically disadvantaged, and only 20% of them perform on grade level, as compared to 62% of their non ED peers. Council for Children’s Rights(CFCR) 

In the book, The Last Dropout , by co-founder of Communities In Schools, Bill Milliken:

o   “In March of 2006, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued its scathing report, The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts.  There is a high school dropout epidemic in America. Each year, almost one third of all public high school students…and nearly one half of all blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans….fail to graduate from public high school with their class. John M Bridgeland, a former director of the USA Freedom Corps, urged that the nation answer this wake-up call and do something significant about it.”

o   “The dropout crisis isn’t just an education issue. It reflects the failure of the adult community.”

o   “The dropout epidemic is creating a divided society whose consequences will be devastating for all Americans, not just the young people themselves. It is at once a practical disaster for our economy, a human tragedy for the children and families directly concerned, and a justice issue that confronts every citizen”.

Thomas J. Donohue, President & C.E.O U.S. Chamber of Commerce states: “the bottom line is that this nation cannot rightfully expect to lead the 21st century’s information and technology driven global economy when we have upwards of 30% of our young people not even graduating from high school.”

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