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The Black Hole of 21™ - is it real?

As students transition from adolesence to adulthood thier lives are in a flux. This is especially true for students with special educational needs. This transition is rarely smooth and there are conflicting priorities and expectations between school and the community due to low expectations and lack of services coordination. Everyone says they are the experts and no one will be responsible for outcomes. Transition IEPs are generalized to group or expected skills vs individualized to the students specific needs and strenghs. Skills are not generalized from school into the home and the community, thus they do not exist as functional skills.

We should all have a common goal of student independence and reducing the barriers to inclusion, but this is rarely accurate. There is a territorial attitude among agencies and the school and a blatent lack of collaboration that was identified by the Government Accountability Office reports back in 2012. "The current federal approach to assisting students with disabilities in their transition to postsecondary education or the workforce necessitates that students and their parents navigate multiple programs and service systems to piece together the supports these students need to achieve maximum independence in adulthood,”

Multiple barriers continue to exist:

  • Government programs are confusing

  • Documentation needed to qualify for programs is confusing

  • Students have not received critical vocational or life skills training, despite a requirement that all students with disabilities have transition plans

  • Inaccurate, untimely or little information is disseminated to families

  • An attitude of low expectations persists

  • Delays in receiving services is frustrating and leads to regression. This results in the difference between achieving potential levels of self-sufficiency versus relying on public assistance.

U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa. noted that, “Transition services to help students succeed in college and careers are vitally important, and I hope that we can ...increase access and make it easier for students and their families to navigate programs that are here to help people with disabilities lead full, independent lives.”

Take just a few minutes of your time and don't miss this youtube video about one brave young man's transition and his journey. Click on this link: Aaron Ross, Autism-The Blackhole of 21

Try swallowing the following facts about our High School dropout crisis:

  • The national high school graduation rate for 2013 was a deplorable 81.4 percent – an all-time high.

  • We have a dropout crisis with 250,000 students failing to graduate each year.

White 4.8% Black 9.9% Latino 18.3% Asian 4.4% American Indian/Alaska Native 14.6%

  • The U.S. has 7000 High School dropouts per day / one every 26 seconds

  • Dropouts will earn about $260,000 less than high school graduates

  • Dropouts will earn $800,000 less than college graduates in their lifetime

  • Dropouts have a decreased life expectancy of 9.2 years as compared to high school graduates.

  • Dropouts require more social services

  • Dropouts are 8xs more likely to go to prison

  • Dropouts are more likely to be on welfare and have poorer health

  • Dropouts are less likely to vote

  • Only 4% of high school dropouts voted in 2012

  • 24% of high school graduates voted in 2012

  • 37% of college graduates voted in 2012

  • Dropouts are not eligible for 90% of new jobs

  • Dropouts do not create new jobs

  • Graduation rates for students with disabilities remain in the very low 60s.

  • African-American and Hispanic/Latino students are graduating 10-15 points behind the national average.

  • 90% of middle- and high-income students graduating on time

  • 70% of low-income students graduate on time and

  • 62% of those with disabilities graduate on time and they consitute 13% of the school enrollment

  • In 11 states, less than 70% of low-income students graduate

Lack of College Readiness:

  • More than 25 percent of U.S. students fail to graduate high school in four years; for 40% of Hispanic and and African-American students failed to graduate high school in four years.

  • According to the ACT, only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met “college ready” standards in all of their core subjects

  • Of college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards.

  • Upon graduating high school, more than 50% of college-bound students need to take remedial classes in one or more subjects.

  • Only 25% of U.S. students are proficient or better in civics, as measured by the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Not Prepared for College:

  • ONLY 58 percent of first-time, full-time students, from public education, seeking a bachelor's degree at a 4-year institution completed that bachelor's degree at that institution within 6 years.

  • This is 150 percent longer than normal completion time for the degrees,

  • Graduation rates varied by type of institution

  • 65% at private nonprofit institutions

  • 56% at public institutions and

  • only 28% at private for-profit institutions.

  • Graduation completion rates varied by race/ ethnicity

  • Asian/Pacific Islander students at 69%

  • White students at 62%

  • Hispanic students at 50%

  • Black students at 39% and

  • American Indian/Alaska Native students at 39%

(SOURCE: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2012). The Condition of Education 2011 (NCES 2012-045), Indicator 45.)

  • 75% of children in foster care want to go to college and only 3% get a bachelors degree.

  • College graduates are 3 times more likely to vote than high school dropouts.

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Copyright 2015 Marie Lewis

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