For newly installed Mayor Michael Nutter, the equation is simple: better public schools and more educational opportunity for the city’s young people equals lower crime rates and an improved business climate.
That is why he has promised to cut in half the city’s dropout rate, estimated at 45 percent, within five to seven years. He said he expects to see progress each year.
“Education is key to the future of this city,” Nutter said in an interview.
Every day, high school-aged youth in Philadelphia are making a critical investment decision that could cost them more than they realize: more than $400,000 over the course of a lifetime. According to a new study due out this spring, this figure represents the expected lifetime earnings gap between a high school graduate in Philadelphia and a resident without a high school diploma.
Often, the roots of the “dropout problem” are identified as poor parenting, teen pregnancy, criminal behavior, and students’ academic deficiencies. But five local scholars and activists interviewed by the Notebook argue that such discussions effectively blame youth and families for a crisis that is largely caused by shortcomings in how schools and districts relate to local communities.