The Challenge

Our Nation

The United States is experiencing a severe crisis in education. According to the 2012 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the U.S. had the following rankings in performance when compared to 27 industrialized countries throughout the world:

  • 14th in reading
  • 25th in math
  • 17th in science

Moreover, the Broad Foundation has concluded the following statistics for American students:

  • two out of three 8th-graders can’t read proficiently
  • nearly two-thirds of 8th-graders scored below proficient in math
  • almost three out of four 8th-grade and 12th-grade students cannot write proficiently

According to a recent study by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES):

  • 1.3 million students drop out of high school in the United States
  • more than half of dropouts are students of color, and most are low-income
  • low-income students fail to graduate at five times the rate of middle-income families and six times that of higher-income youth

When a child drops out of high school, they are destined to face extremely bleak economic and social prospects.  Compared to high school graduates, dropouts have the increased chance of being:

  • unemployed and earning low wages
  • chronically unhealthy
  • dependent on social services
  • incarcerated

Not only does the child suffer, but so does our society:

  • each cohort of dropouts costs the U.S. $192 billion in lost income and taxes
  • America could see a combined savings and revenue of almost $8 billion each year if even just 5% of all dropouts stayed in school and attended college

Mecklenburg County

Although Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools’ high school graduation rate set a new high at 89.6% in the 2015-2016 academic year, schools with a majority of low-income students graduated at rates as low as 76%. While the achievement gap between white and minority students continues to narrow, there is still great disparity between the schools located in high income and poverty-stricken zip codes.

CSF-C recognizes the direct empirical correlation between high-poverty neighborhoods, low-performing schools, soaring dropout rates and the inevitable consequences that this problem has on an individual, family and community.  Therefore, it is imperative that our organization become a significant part of the solution to help CMS address this problem by decreasing the achievement gap and increasing the high school graduation rates in our community.