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Where Do We Go Next? Youth Insights on the High School Experience During a Year of Historic Upheaval

June 23, 2021

Where Do We Go Next? presents findings from a national survey focused on understanding the experiences, assets, and conditions that have shaped young people's high school experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic. Where Do We Go Next? aims to characterize young people's school-based experiences (in-person or remote) over the past year to inform youth-centered policy, practice, and recovery efforts moving forward.America's Promise Alliance partnered with Research for Action (RFA) to conduct a national survey (n=2,439) of young people as part of its GradNation campaign. The survey was designed to assess young people's experiences during an unprecedented school year that was shaped by the COVID-19 pandemic and a swelling movement for racial justice. Specifically, the present study sought to take a holistic approach to better understanding young people's high school experiences over the past year, all amidst an uncertain economic, social, and educational landscape. This study, thus, serves two related purposes. First, it adds to a growing knowledge base on high schoolers' learning experiences over the past year. And second, it explores a diverse set of young people's schoolbased and out-of-school experiences in an effort to better understand how the past year has impacted learning and development, specifically students' overall wellbeing, access to opportunities to learn about — and act upon — social issues like race and racism, and postsecondary readiness for life after high school.Survey respondents included young people ages 13-19 years who were enrolled in high school in the United States during the 2020-2021 school year. The survey was administered over a six-week period in March and April 2021 using a multi-pronged sampling strategy that included an online panel, targeted recruitment through supporting organizations, and youth-oriented social media advertisements. A non-probability quota sampling strategy was used to approximate the U.S. population distributions of high school students along dimensions of education level, gender, ethnicity, and race. Parameter estimates were referenced according to the most recently available national education statistics published by the National Center for Educational Statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights. The resulting 2,439 survey responses were weighted by grade-level, race, ethnicity, and gender to account for differences between the study sample and the overall national population.

Hidden in Plain Sight: Homeless Students In America's Public Schools

June 13, 2016

Student homelessness is on the rise, with more than 1.3 million homeless students identified during the 2013-14 school year. This is a 7 percent increase from the previous year and more than double the number of homeless students in 2006-07. As high as these numbers seem, they are almost certainly undercounts.Despite increasing numbers, these students - as well as the school liaisons and state coordinators who support them - report that student homelessness remains an invisible and extremely disruptive problem.Students experiencing homelessness struggle to stay in school, to perform well, and to form meaningful connections with peers and adults. Ultimately, they are much more likely to fall off track and eventually drop out of school more often than their non-homeless peers.This study:provides an overview of existing research on homeless students,sheds light on the challenges homeless students face and the supports they say they need to succeed,reports on the challenges adults - local liaisons and state coordinators - face in trying to help homeless students, andrecommends changes in policy and practice at the school, community, state and national level to help homeless students get on a path to adult success.This is a critical and timely topic. The recent reauthorization of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) provides many new and stronger provisions for homeless students (effective Oct. 1, 2016); requires states, district and schools for the first time to report graduation rates for homeless students (effective beginning with the 2016-17 school year); and affirms the urgency and importance of dealing with homelessness so that all children can succeed.

2015 Building a Grad Nation Report: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic

May 12, 2015

This sixth annual report to the nation highlights the significant progress that has been made, but also the serious challenges that remain – closing gaping graduation gaps between various student populations; tackling the challenge in key states and school districts; and keeping the nation's focus on ensuring that all students – whom Robert Putnam calls "our kids" – have an equal chance at the American Dream