Skip to Content

  • Issue Brief
  • School Pushout: Where Are We Now?

    This issue brief summarizes the findings of AFC’s survey of 145 New York City youth on the factors that cause students to leave school.  The brief provides insight into the educational experiences and aspirations of out-of-school youth in New York City.

    Feb 21, 2008

    Two teenage boys wearing backpacks climb the stairs in the subway. (Photo by Armin Rimoldi from Pexels)
    Photo by Armin Rimoldi from Pexels

    Students who were pushed out of school illegally had little guidance or information on their educational rights and options, according to this 2008 issue brief by Advocates for Children (AFC).

    AFC surveyed 145 New York City youth to explore what factors cause students to leave school. The majority of students surveyed were told to leave school for reasons, such as cutting class or having bad grades, that do not legally justify excluding a student from school. More than a third never met with a high school guidance counselor, and almost half did not know they had a legal right to remain in school until age 21. One hundred and twenty-six of the 145 youth surveyed want to continue their education and go to college.

    This paper illustrates that the City’s Department of Education needs to make significant improvements in guidance and advising, and also to track and enforce compliance with rules against illegal school exclusion.”

    Kim Sweet, Executive Director of AFC

    Nohel Marte was pushed out of school at age 18. He remembers feeling that school officials were not invested in his success. Nohel recalled, “The school offered no options to me before I left and they convinced me to sign out.”

    Magalli Rivera also felt that she was forced to leave school and said she was “pushed out of the system without any help.” Magalli and Nohel worked with other youth, some who had also been pushed out of school, to create a public service announcement about students’ right to an education.

    Some students still tell us they cannot attend school because they have bad grades or do not have enough credits, and these reasons are illegal.”

    Benita Miller, Executive Director of the Brooklyn Young Mothers’ Collective

    “The Department of Education must be held accountable to all students and needs to ensure that every child in New York City is provided with the guidance, information and support that is needed to obtain a quality public education,” said Ms. Sweet. “The stakes are too high to do anything else.”

    Related Policy Resources