Chicago Public Schools Says Dropout Rate Hit a Record Low

Chicago Public Schools' one-year high school dropout rate is at an all-time low, the district and Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Thursday.

The 2017-2018 dropout rate - the percentage of students who drop out over the course of a school year - was a record low 6.4 percent, Emanuel's office said in a statement.

That figure was a decrease from 7.1 percent the previous year, according to the mayor, who said the biggest improvements came from African-American students.

He attributed the growth to investments in mentoring, after-school programming and social-emotional learning that all support students and keep them in school.

Emanuel and district leaders touted the achievement at an annual back-to-school ministers breakfast Thursday, telling members of faith-based organizations that they have to commit to children just as a teacher might.

"There is no ‘bell’ when it comes to our involvement in our kids’ lives," Emanuel said. "Just because the bell goes off at 3:30, or in June, our role does not end at that time. It just begins."

"This isn’t just on our great teachers and principals," he added. "It’s on all of us.”

CPS CEO Janice Jackson said she credited mentoring in particular with the improvement, telling the crowd that if kids have an adult in their life invested in their education, they are more likely to succeed.

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