The Persistence of County High School Dropout Rates in the Rural South, 1970-2000
This paper investigates Smith's (1989) thesis that county drop out rates have been self-perpetuating in the rural South, a pattern reinforced by the presence of mining and manufacturing employers with few skill demands. The results show that the associations of mining and manufacturing with high drop out rates, notable as late as 1980, have largely disappeared. But counties with high proportions of female headed families and low young adult (age 25-44) education continue to have little improvement in high schools completion. The extent of perpetuation of low education varies by state, whether due to differences education policies or economic structures.
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