Illinois Senate President Cullerton and Majority Leader Currie Address New Dropout Data at Policy Convening in Chicago

Economic Opportunity Declines for Latino High School Dropouts as Political Clout Rises

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Illinois State Senate President John Cullerton and General Assembly Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie joined other legislative and educational leaders on Monday, December 10, 2012 at The Union League Club of Chicago for a policy forum focused on a new report that details how the employment and earnings prospects of high school dropouts continue to decline, leaving uneducated young adults increasingly vulnerable to labor market vicissitudes.

Latino dropouts — particularly males — have been faring the worst over the past few years, even as Latinos’ influence in the voting booth has been on the rise, according to the report, High School Dropouts in Chicago and Illinois and Their Persistent Labor Market Problems. Commissioned by the Alternative Schools Network (ASN) in Chicago and prepared by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, Boston, Mass., the report was released at the forum, Home Grown Solutions: Policies and Programs to Re-Enroll Out of School Youth.

Convening co-sponsors of the forum included the Chicago Urban League, Youth Connection Charter School, the Alternative Schools Network, WTTW 11 Chicago, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Illinois Network of Charter Schools and the Illinois State Council on Re-Enrolling Students Who Dropped out of School. More than 300 education, civic, business and community leaders attended presentations by the key speakers and a moderated panel discussion.

Speakers and participants included:

  • John Cullerton, Illinois State Senate President
  • Barbara Flynn Currie, Illinois General Assembly Majority Leader
  • Jesse Ruiz, Chicago Board of Education member and State Council Chair
  • Andrea Zopp, Chicago Board of Education member and Urban League President & CEO
  • Elizabeth Brackett, “Chicago Tonight” Correspondent
  • Sheila Venson, Executive Director, Youth Connection Charter School
  • Matthew Rodriguez, Principal, Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School
  • Juan Salgado, President & CEO, Instituto del Progreso Latino
  • Myra Sampson, Principal, CCA Academy
  • Jack Wuest, Executive Director, Alternative Schools Network
  • Keisha Davis-Johnson, Principal, West Town Academy

High School Dropouts in Chicago and Illinois and Their Persistent Labor Market Problems is part of an ongoing series reporting on the consequences of dropping out of high school and the benefits gained by encouraging them to re-enroll and complete their diplomas.

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