Goal: To cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. It’s essential to getting and keeping a job with a livable wage and health benefits. And it’s fundamental to a community’s economic prosperity: a well-educated workforce attracts world-class jobs.
Today, 6,000 young people will drop out of school. That’s 1.2 million high school dropouts a year — and 1.2 million young adults closing the door of opportunity.
Education is the key to getting a good job, one with a good income and health care. And it’s the key to our nation’s productivity and global competitiveness.
That’s why United Way has put a stake in the ground on education. Our goal is to cut the number of high school dropouts in half by 2018. We’ve issued a challenge to all 1,300 United Ways and their community partners — and we want you to get involved, too.
High school dropouts are more than 12 years in the making. Children start learning at birth; the foundation for future learning is laid in the first few years. Disadvantaged children come to school at least two years behind their peers in pre-reading skills, and most never catch up. By 3rd grade, a child’s grades and absenteeism rates can predict with 90% accuracy whether he or she will complete high school. The entire education continuum, from birth through 21, must be in our collective crosshairs if we want to move the needle on high school graduation. That means making sure children are:
- Ready for school, starting with the social, emotional and cognitive skills they need to succeed;
- Reading on track by 4th grade;
- Transitioning successfully to middle school;
- Graduating high school on time;
- Working or in school by 21
What’s the impact of high school dropouts in your community? United Way’s Common Good Forecaster™, found at www.liveunited.org/forecaster, can help you determine exactly how education affects your community’s future. For example, it can predict to what degree might higher levels of education in your county lower the poverty and unemployment rates – and boost incomes. But beyond jobs and incomes, it can show how changes in the educational level of a place affect its incarceration rate. Or the percentage of adults who are obese. Or even voter turnout in the next election.
What does it really take to improve education? Research shows that supportive communities, effective schools and strong families must be in place, supported by early, sustained investment and driven by proven strategies. United Way has a framework to guide our education work, one that’s helping our 1,300 United Ways mobilize people around education.
United Way of Cumberland County’s Funded Programs
(Strengthening Children, Youth, Families & Neighborhoods)
- Boy Scouts’ Programs for Boys
- Boys & Girls Clubs’ Youth Development Programs
- Catholic Charities Family Outreach Program
- Cumberland County CommuniCare At-Risk Youth
- Prevention/Intervention Programs & Services
- Fayetteville Urban Ministry’s Adult Literacy Program
- Fayetteville Urban Ministry’s Find A Friend Program
- Fort Bragg Army Community Services
- Fort Bragg Youth Services
- Girl Scouts’ Development Programs for Girls
- In-School Scouting Programs for Exceptional Children
- Rape Crisis Community Outreach
- The Salvation Army Community Center Youth Programs
- Vision Resource Center’s Cultural Arts, Crafts & Dance
- YMCA Childcare
- YMCA Youth Sports & Swim Lessons