Source: Consortium on Chicago School Research

A Chicago Public Schools freshman performing well academically and with good attendance is more likely to gain the credits needed to be promoted to the next grade. This in turn, means that they will graduate; 81 percent of Chicago freshmen promoted on time made it to graduation in four years while just three in 10 students graduated, according to the Consortium on Chicago School Research.

Source: Consortium on Chicago School Research

On-time graduation rarely happens in Chicago Public Schools. A mere 64 percent of the freshmen who made up the district’s Class of 2012 had attained the credits needed for promotion to the next grade. It is even worse for the district’s young men, especially the ones attending George Washington High School, one of the district’s poor-performing schools. Just 57 percent of male freshmen were on the path to graduation versus 71 percent of their female classmates. At George Washington, only 48 percent of freshmen males were on path to graduation; 73 percent of females were likely to graduate on time.

The problems are longstanding. Seven years ago, just 49 percent of freshmen males attending Washington were on the path to graduating on time. More importantly, the problems begin long before children reach high school. The dropout crisis begins in elementary school with poor academic instruction along with the lack of focus on addressing deficiencies in reading. An overdiagnosis of learning disabilities — generated in part by the tendency of boys to be boisterous along with a lack of strong parental discipline — means that young boys are relegated to special ed without their issues being addressed through other means. By the time the boys are in sixth grade, the problems have festered. After all, a student failing in math and missing more than 10 days of school a year has just a one-in-six chance of graduating from high school.

These stats can be seen throughout the nation. Over a period of four years, the enrollment of males versus females can reverse, from majority young men to majority female by senior year. The impact of this can be seen on America’s college campuses where young women are now outnumbering men — and in society at large.

All the young men — black, white, Latino, rich or poor — need to graduate. Addressing these academic failures will not only stem the dropout crisis, but also improve the lives of young women and society overall.