How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Examining the high school dropout crisis

Photo by anna vignet/Flickr (Creative Commons)

An NPR series this week has focused on the high school dropout crisis, which disproportionately affects black and Latino teens. According to U.S. Department of Education statistics, in spite of lower overall dropout rates since 1980, Latino teens' rates remain the highest. And while boys receive much of the attention, nearly as many girls drop out, too.

From a piece yesterday, which profiled Lauren Ortega of San Bernardino, now 20:

Of the million or so kids who drop out of school every year, nearly half are girls. They drop out for the same reasons boys do: they skip school, fall behind academically and they're bored. But the single biggest reason girls drop out is because they get pregnant.

Young Latinas are the most susceptible to this, according to the piece, which cites national figures stating that 41 percent of Latinas who drop out of school do so because they become pregnant. The question that remains is how to break the cycle.