Study links better graduation rate, lower crime rate

first_img• Dropout report: Read the report and look up county-by-county statistics PASADENA – Raising high school graduation rates by just 10 percent could reduce homicides and aggravated assaults by 20 percent statewide, according to a report released Thursday that links graduation rates to crime rates. A 10-percent increase in the number of high school graduates could translate into 500 fewer murders and more than 20,000 fewer assaults in California each year, according to the report, “School or the Streets: Crime and California’s Dropout Crisis.” In Los Angeles County, that would mean 214 fewer homicides and 7,241 fewer aggravated assaults, the report compiled by Fight Crime said. Fight Crime is a nonprofit organization made up of police chiefs, prosecutors and other law-enforcement officials. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champCalifornia needs to do more “to give students the tools to make an honest living,” said Brian Lee, Fight Crime’s deputy director and the lead author of the report. Nationally, 68 percent of prison inmates never graduated from high school, the report noted. Lee said the findings illustrate “an urgent need to act now” to improve education. The reforms suggested in the report included encouraging more children to attend high-quality preschools and increasing the number of small learning communities within high schools. Two studies cited in the report showed high school graduation rates increased by as much as 44 percent when students attended preschool. Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, Pasadena Unified School District Superintendent Edwin Diaz and other officials discussed the report and its findings Thursday at Blair High School, where officials have pioneered programs to retain students who are on the verge of dropping out and help those struggling to improve low grades. “The key is getting kids started on the right track as early as possible and then making sure the schools do what is needed to help succeed and graduate,” Baca said. “We do not want to see more young people go to jail,” Huntington Park Police Chief Michael Trevis said. According to the report, high school dropouts are more than three times more likely than graduates to be arrested, and more than eight times as likely to be in jail. Diaz noted that programs like the BlairLEARNS after-school credit reclamation course and Blair High’s health careers academy help keep students in school. Both programs were highlighted in Fight Crime’s report. Blair’s credit-reclamation program, now in its third year, has helped raise the school’s graduation rate by 30 percent, said Bill Fennessy, school site coordinator. “Kids are given an opportunity to succeed, and they are self-motivated,” Fennessy said. Seniors Sari Peralta and DeJuan Chambers, who are enrolled in Blair’s credit-reclamation program, said it is helping them raise their grades. Peralta said the program is giving her a chance to raise a C minus she received in an Advanced Placement history class she took in her junior year. Removing that blemish from her academic record will increase her chances of attending a four-year college, she said. Chambers is taking the program in order to improve two D’s – in English and Advanced Placement world history. He said several of his friends also are enrolled in the program. “It is six hours a week, but it is worth it,” Chambers said. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4494 www.insidesocal.com/schools 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more