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More N.C. Students Dropping Out

Posted February 7, 2008

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— More high school students are dropping out of North Carolina high schools, according to a report released Thursday.

Statewide, 23,550 students dropped out last year, or about 5.24 percent of students enrolled in public high schools. That was up from 22,180 students, or 5.04 percent of enrollment, in 2005-06.

"North Carolinians need to make sure these young people realize how tough it can be for them once they bypass their high school diploma," State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said in a statement. "High school graduation today is a bare minimum for economic survival, and we need to support all students so that they graduate from high school."

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said the rising dropout rate shows a number of strategies must be explored to solve the dropout problem. Such efforts include more literacy coaches in North Carolina middle schools to prepare students for high school, the Learn and Earn program to offer students a chance to earn college credit for free in high school and grants for innovative dropout prevention programs.

The number of dropouts jumped 14.6 percent in Wake County last year, to 1,647, but the district's dropout rate remained well below the state average, at 4.21 percent. Likewise, Johnston County saw a 12.4 percent increase in dropouts, to 454, pushing its dropout rate above the state average, at 5.39 percent.

The number of dropouts in Durham County fell by 2.3 percent, to 508, and its dropout rate dipped below the state average, at 4.9 percent. The Chapel Hill-Carrboro and Orange County school districts also reported fewer dropouts last year.

Statewide, almost one-third of the dropouts left school in the ninth grade, and 78 percent of the students who dropped out were between ages 16 and 18.

Dropout rates for black students (6.16 percent) and white students (4.52 percent) rose in the past year, while rates for Hispanic students (7.66 percent) and American Indian students (7.71 percent), declined.

About three of every five dropouts are boys.


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  • jgordonfan Feb 8, 2008

    Perhaps the headline should really say "NC Taxpayers to Pay More For More People On Welfare." But, it doesnt but we really know thats what is really gonna end up happening.

  • catwoman1 Feb 8, 2008

    S82R, some kids have 1 retention and and they're behind. Some of these retention were caused initially by the EOG when there was no clarification of the standards...if you failed the test, you failed your grade..I worked very hard with others to get the legislature to review that policy. If any child wants an education regardless of age, he/she shouls be able to get it.

  • inquistitor Feb 8, 2008

    S82R, Don't discount a child becasue of age. If a child has a birthday after mid October then they have to wait an extra year to enter the public schools system. That means they may be closer to eight when they start.

  • S82R Feb 7, 2008

    1/3 were 9th graders and 78% were 16-18.

    How many of those fit into both categories? There is obviously overlap. If a kid is 16, 17, or 18 and in the 9th grade then it's time for them to drop out and get a job because they obviously aren't academic achievers....

  • Closed II Feb 7, 2008

    claudnc - first off, I applaud you and your work! I look forward to the day when kids are educated enough to not get pregnant before they're ready.

    Secondly, I never saw Awits comments and if anything I said offended him/her, I heartly apologize.

    Thirdly, I am guessing that you believe me to be speaking from a cliff far above anyone who has dropped out - I'm not. I'm firmly on the ground holding a sign for these kids that reads: I've been there! I've done that! I've suffered the consequences! I wouldn't do it again for anything!

    Fortunately, I realized my mistake, got my GED and am currently in college.

    Oh, pregnancy and drugs was not my reasons for quitting. I had a mother who told me even if finished high school, I wouldn't be going to college because she was going to pay for it and at 16, I didn't know about student loans and other types of financial help for college.

    Basically, I gave up when I thought I couldn't go to college. Dumb reason to quit!

  • cjtheump Feb 7, 2008

    It is not surprising with the way the NCDPI keeps frustrating students and teachers with their policies. This idea of having to score a 3 or a 4 on EOC exams for ALL students is adding to the dropout rate. If students don't get a 3 or 4 on their exams they do not get graduation credit for the course. Even if they have a passing grade for the semester and pass the exam with a score greater than 70 (which is passing).
    Because of this, schools must waste time giving remediation to students who in essence have passed an 18 week class but didn't score an 81 on the state exam.
    NO THREE HOURS EXAM SHOULD OUTWEIGH 18 WEEKS OF CLASSWORK. If a student shows competence in the class for 18 weeks and passes the exam, they should get credit for the class.

  • common_sense_plz Feb 7, 2008

    I agree with whom ever said that the parents need to be more involved with their childs education. If we show our children that we do care and they see that thier education matters to us, it will make a huge difference. This I don't have time is nuts, you had time to create the child, now you must take the time to raise your child. These kids are our future leaders, and yes that means your future leaders, these kids need to know that they and their education matters to you. I am a parent volunteer twice a week at school, whether I am tired or not, I also help my child with homework also whether I am tired or not. I do not have a choice, she is my responsibility, not the schools. If your child knows and see's that they and what they do is important, it will make all the difference in the world in their education, and the choices they will make when it come to drugs, alcohol and sex. They will be much less likely to drop out if they see that their parents care.

  • claudnc Feb 7, 2008

    DSS - no longer gives extra money if you have another child while on the system within a two year period. So there are some reforms put in place.. Eyeswideopen - I cofacilitate a preg support group on the high school level every other Tues. I love working with the girls and our main goal are 1)no repeat preg 2)learning parenting skills 3)supporting mom. I went back and read some of Awits comments - this is half the problem, no one listened to him. He stated he dropped out of high school. No one asked why and if there was anything that could have assisted him with not dropping out. Everyone just atacked him - he attempted to offer explanations but we all put him down... I will say I know of about six drop-outs that are about 25 in age and making well over $45k a yr. I have a friend who is making over $75k. Didnt Peter Jennings say he dropped out of high school. I am not advocating dropping out by any means but lets see how we can support oppose to beating down.

  • claudnc Feb 7, 2008

    wcnc - literacy continues throughout elem and middle schools. Rm and Cubed- All kids are not placed on a 4yr college track. The students interested in plum, carp, electrical trades, HVAC etc.. are placed on College Tech Pathway. Students can take cosmetology, Allied Health 1&2, Construction Tech, Business tech trust me the schools are well aware most kids will not go to a 4 yr college. If you read the book 2010 - you'll realize most kids shouldn't. It simply states that most jobs will be technical and you can obtain specialized teaching at the tech schools. Dataclerk - I am not aware of any student except EC and OCS kids who are eligible of certificates. I have run into students whose families were into farming and they let me know from day one - I will make more money than anyone in this school by going into the family business. In most instances that is sooo true - how do you put a real argument with that...

  • LocalYokel Feb 7, 2008

    The dropouts will soon be complaining about illegal immigrants taking their jobs and want to know what the government is going to do about it. I had no idea the numbers were so high. Thats a lot of people dropping out of school every year and that says a lot about our society - sad.