Did you know the following sobering facts regarding children who drop out of school?
- While the high school graduation rate in Palm Beach County has risen from 58.8% in 2005-6 to 77.8% in 2014-15, it remains below the national average of 82.0%.
- High school drop-outs are significantly more likely to be unemployed than high school graduates (14.9% compared to 10.0%).
- High school drop-outs are more than twice as likely as college graduates to grow up living in poverty (30.8% to 13.5%), and 63 times more likely to be incarcerated for criminal activity.
- On average, each high school drop-out will cost taxpayers $292,000 over his/her lifetime.
Dropping out of school is not just a problem for the children and their families, it is a problem that has an economic impact on everyone. The principal reasons for dropping out of high school are a perceived inability to keep up with the work, teen-age pregnancy, criminal incarceration and drug and alcohol addiction. Studies have shown that between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. (when adult supervision is at a low point -especially in single-parent families) is the peak period for juvenile crime and experimentation with drugs, alcohol, and sex. Thus, after-school programs that keep adolescents out of trouble and/or assist them with their studies and project assignments have proven highly effective in reducing the high school drop-out rate. In 2016, your BallenIsles Charities Foundation supported the following four such programs which have played a critical role in improving the County’s high school graduation rate.