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Majority of Students Drop Out of One LA High School

LA's Jefferson Senior High School, which boasts Nobel Peace Prize laureate Ralph Bunche as an alum, also has the nation's second highest drop-out rate. Six in 10 students at Jefferson drop out. A perfect storm of factors unfriendly to education makes Jefferson a problem school.

Many of students come from transient families who have just immigrated from Mexico or Central America. Over 90 percent qualify for the school lunch program, and 45 percent are still learning English. Tons of students do not live with their parents and work to support themselves.

American inner-city schools in general get a failing grade, too — 50 percent of students at inner-city schools nation-wide do not get their diplomas. To find out how the LA school district tries to address the bleak situation,


The LA school district launched a pricey marketing campaign last year to convince youth that school is cool. The school district stressed the message that high school graduates can earn $175 more per week than dropouts using commercials on hip-hop radio stations, text messages, a MySpace website, and YouTube videos. Taking a less hip approach, Jefferson also puts its ninth-graders through a week of conflict resolution and peer mediation training. Do you have any other ideas to offer this troubled school?


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