Why Do Some Students Drop Out of Urban High Schools?
High percentages of racial minority and low-income high school dropouts present a growing concern for both the student and society as dropouts are likely to experience future economic instability and are more likely to require public assistance or enter correctional facilities. The urban high school context includes high percentages of students from racially diverse, ethnically diverse, and low-income populations. The purpose of this Capstone essay is to address the high percentage of urban high student dropout through a discussion of the multiple predictors to high school dropout, specifically the interplay between the student, parental involvement and the school. Two essential questions “Why do some students in urban schools drop out?” and “What are the roles of parental involvement in decreasing high school dropout rates?” guide this synthesis in order to add to the growing body of research on the effectiveness of parental involvement in combating student dropout. One theme found throughout much of the key research was the mismatch of perceptions of “parental involvement” between schools and low-income, racially or ethnically diverse parents. Different types of parental involvement in both deficit and asset mindsets have been associated with parents, with distinction across social class and racial lines. An analysis of the research suggests multiple predictors, such as familial background, parental education, parental attitudes, student engagement, and student achievement influence the likelihood of high school dropout across a student’s educational career. One conclusion for the role of parental involvement shows evidence that urban school parents consider different types of parental involvement that is more psychologically supportively and home-centered than physically present. The implications for taking theory to practice are outlined as schools, parents, and communities build partnerships, engage in culturally responsive parental involvement, view all parents as assets, and use effective administrative leadership during professional development to create committed and accountable teachers.