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Study: To Raise Graduation Rates, Increase Number Of Adults In Community

For decades, communities across the USA have tried all manner of raising high school graduation rates: higher academic standards, better school funding, stricter testing and calls for arts, vocational, Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs.

New research suggests there’s another way to raise graduation rates: simply increase the number of adults in a community.

Combining decennial U.S. Census and education data, a pair of researchers has found that improving the ratio of adults aged 25+ to school-aged children helps keep kids on a path to graduation. More adults in a neighborhood means a bigger “web of supports” that benefit all kids, said Jonathan Zaff, a developmental psychologist, executive director of the Center for Promise at Boston University School of Education and the lead researcher on the project.