United Way works to end America’s education crisis
Education is the cornerstone of individual and community success. But with more than 1.2 million children dropping out each year, America faces an education crisis. The cost? More than $312 billion in lost wages, taxes and productivity over their lifetimes.1 These trends are reversible, but only when communities and public, private and nonprofit sectors work together.
We can’t focus on high school alone. High school dropouts are 12 years in the making, usually starting early childhood education behind schedule. United Way's model focuses on supportive communities, effective schools and strong families — strategies and approaches rooted in research. Tackling the education challenge requires reframing education on a birth to 21 continuum. And it requires a clear-eyed view of the problem and its roots. The fact is, high school dropouts are more than 12 years in the making.
Disadvantaged children start school at least 2 years behind in pre-reading skills.
For every 50 children who don’t learn to read in kindergarten, 44 will still be struggling in 3rd grade.
Children without reading skills by 3rd grade are unlikely to graduate. New research shows grades and absenteeism rates by 3rd grade can predict dropouts with 90% accuracy.
Our Focus Areas
Enter school ready to succeed
Read proficiently by 4th grade
Make a successful transition to middle school
Graduate from high school on time
Be ready for success in college, work, and life
How You Can Help
To reach our goal, we need your help. The strategies proven to work are those that connect communities to their schools: parent involvement; literacy volunteers in the classroom; mentors for disadvantaged students; business leaders engaged in early childhood advocacy. Volunteer to help.