The Public Interest

The high school dropout puzzle

Chester E. Finn, Jr.

Spring 1987

SECOND ONLY TO the plague of drugs among young people, the dropout problem has lately emerged as perhaps the highest profile issue in American education. It has been the subject of congressional deliberations, headline articles in newspapers, special issues of respected journals, features on network television (one of which recently termed it “a problem of staggering proportions”), and crash programs mounted by state and local school systems and myriad education organizations.

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