The Alternative Schools Network envisions a global community where every individual has access to equal educational and employment opportunities.
Working in partnership with community-based organizations & schools, the Alternative Schools Network will re-engage a diverse community of learners to actualize their true academic potential & personal goals by promoting educational innovation, workforce opportunities & civic participation for future leadership and service.
Every May for the past 16 years, between 800 and 900 students from the majority of ASN’s member high schools cross gang lines, territories and neighborhoods to converge at the Chicago Sheraton downtown for a celebratory Prom Night. While bringing together youth from so many rival areas can frequently create opposition, no violence or gang issues have occurred.
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Illinois ranks 24th in the nation in teen unemployment. High Unemployment Rates Potentially Escalates Teen Violence in Chicago Streets. The report, The Summer Jobs Outlook for Teens in the U.S., conducted by the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University projects that nationwide the teen summer employment rate will be 29.8 percent this summer. NATIONWIDE TEEN EMPLOYMENT DROPS BY 20 POINTS SINCE 1999-2000 PICTURE EVEN BLEAKER FOR BLACK AND HISPANIC YOUTHS
ASN serves as a conduit for the work of its member schools and community-based programs, connecting the mission, goals, strategies and outcomes to create a unified community of active participants in programming. Through this role, ASN is able to link the voices of its partner communities to marshal resources and expertise that will improve the outcomes for its target populations.
In Chicago, nearly 40,000 youth between the ages of 15 and 20 and approximately 97,000 youth ages 16 to 24 are high school dropouts. These teens and young adults often find their personal circumstances too insurmountable to overcome on their own in order to stay in school.
Dropouts are 3.5 times more likely than high school graduates to be incarcerated in their lifetime. 90% of the 11,000 youth in adult detention facilities have no more than a 9th grade education.
High school dropouts are less likely to receive skills and experience needed for employment, which also impacts the development of the future workforce. In 2001, only 55% of young adult dropouts were employed (nationally), compared with 74% of high school graduates and 87% of four-year college graduates.
Dropouts earn less over their lifetime which equates to fewer tax contributions for the community. They also contribute to the state and federal tax coffers at only about one-half the rate of high school graduates; over a working lifetime about $60,000 or less, or $50 billion annually for the 23 million high school non-completers, ages 18-67.
Over the lifetime of each dropout, taxpayers bear the cost of approximately $290,000 due to loss of tax contributions, increased public assistance costs and correctional costs. Dropouts are substantially more likely to rely on public assistance than those with a high school diploma.