Understanding High School Drop Out: Exploring the Relationship between Policy, Ethnicity, and Dropping Out

Amanda L. Roy, New York University
Hirokazu Yoshikawa, New York University

Factors such as parental education, parental employment, and family structure all have been shown to influence a child's decision to dropout of school. Additionally, extreme differences in rates of dropout for children of different racial/ethnic backgrounds suggest that these family factors may have differential effects depending on the child's ethnicity. Using data from the National Evaluation of Welfare-to-Work Strategies (NEWWS), an experimental longitudinal evaluation of a mandatory employment program, this research attempts to explain these variations in dropout by examining welfare policy, ethnicity, family characteristics and their interactive effect on a child's likelihood to either remain in or leave school. Results indicate that parental participation in the program does differentially affect children's likelihood to dropout of school depending on ethnicity. Participation in the "education focused" program increased dropout rates for White children when compared to Latino children, while increasing dropout rates for Black children when compared to White children.

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Presented in Session 40: Welfare, Maternal Employment, and Adolescents