Education

Wake schools dropout rate declines

Posted January 10, 2013

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Public School System's dropout rate decreased to 2.83 percent in the 2011-12 school year, lower than the state average of 3.01 percent, the district said Thursday, citing data from the state Department of Public Instruction.

The number of high school students who dropped out, 1,236, was 150 fewer than in the 2010-11 school year, according to the DPI data.

At the same time, the school system's population increased from 41,407 to 42,134 students, the school system said.

"We will continue to focus our efforts on pushing that rate lower," Interim Superintendent Stephen Gainey said in a statement. "As a former high school principal, I can tell you there is no prouder moment than watching your students walk across the graduation stage."

Dropout rates also improved for student demographics, dropping nearly a full percentage point over last year for black and Hispanic/Latino students, to 4.58 percent and 4.95 percent, respectively.

Among students identified as being economically disadvantaged, the rate fell from 5.3 percent to 4.69 percent. Among students with disabilities, it fell from 6.5 percent to 5.39 percent.

The dropout rate has been on a decline for the past 14 years.

School officials credit the dwindling numbers to dropout prevention programs that identify students who are at risk of dropping out, reaching out to those who have dropped out to get them to return and providing additional access to alternative learning programs for students.

In 2011-12, 13,488 high school students dropped out statewide, compared with 15,342 in 2010-11.

About 70 percent of the state's 115 school districts saw decreases. Chapel-Hill-Carrboro City Schools had one of the lowest dropout rates in the state, at 1.02 percent.

"Principals, teachers and support staff should be praised for their efforts to ensure that students are staying on track to complete their education and achieve success after graduation," state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson said in a statement.

Here's a look at how other state and local school systems faired:

School system2010-11 rate2011-12 ratePercent change
Charlotte-Mecklenburg3.573.20-9.0
Cumberland3.122.63-15.5
Durham3.673.55-2.4
Edgecombe4.924.81-5.4
Forsyth3.813.38-10.9
Franklin4.234.489.1
Guilford2.712.15-20.8
Halifax3.685.5435.6
Roanoke Rapids City3.745.5248.5
Hoke 3.313.6013.0
Johnston 3.282.65-17.8
Lee 4.723.63-23.6
Nash-Rocky Mount 4.474.684.5
Orange County 2.372.46 7.4
Person 5.476.105.6
Sampson 4.813.14-34.4
Vance 5.555.70-1.6
Wayne 4.183.95-5.4

  

11 Comments

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  • me2you Jan 16, 2013

    I wonder if the fact that you no longer have to learn to read and write before you graduate is a motivating factor for less people dropping out.

  • btneast Jan 11, 2013

    The focus should be entirely 100 percent on those students that want to be there and are trying to succeed. Those that don't want to be or are not trying are just wasting our money.

    Yes, we need to provide well for those that want it, but dropouts will eventually come back to haunt us later and be more costly than adressing it now. Todays' dropout is too often tomorrow's burglar that breaks into your home.....or worse.

  • krimson Jan 11, 2013

    "The dropout rate has been on a decline for the past 14 years."

    WestWake - "Can everyone name the Wake County Superintendent who put programs in place to ensure struggling minority, low-income, and disabled students got the help they needed to learn and graduate? Hint: his initials are T.T."

    Can you name the Super(s) that did it for the 13years prior???

  • JustAName Jan 11, 2013

    "That said, whatelseisnew from the party of racism and segregation but anger and vitriol and threats?" - Cary Progressive

    I didn't think he was a Democrat.

  • westernwake1 Jan 10, 2013

    Can everyone name the Wake County Superintendent who put programs in place to ensure struggling minority, low-income, and disabled students got the help they needed to learn and graduate?

    Hint: his initials are T.T.

  • UNCRules123 Jan 10, 2013

    This makes me think about my own daughter's HS graduation from the WCPSS just a few years ago. She sat next to a person she didn't know and the person bragged how she couldn't believe she graduated because she didn't pass English 9, Biology or World History. I guess the powers that be decided she had mastered enough material and she received high school credit. Crazy story but its true.

    I know this happens because a teacher confirmed it at open house years ago.. I kept pressing and the teacher finally admitted the principal/staff can decide a student has mastered enough of the material even if he/she clearly failed the actual class.
    I do know Wake County Schools will bend over backwards if a student shows inititative to graduate. They will get you help, tutors, resource teachers, retakes, etc. If a person drops out it is not due to a lack of effort on WCPSS. Its because the student wanted to drop out.

  • Karmageddon Jan 10, 2013

    Their test scores dropped too.....coincidence? I don't think so...

  • babbleon Jan 10, 2013

    Good news, but we're still coasting on the investments we made in 2001 to 2008. We'll see the impact of our budget cuts in another 3 years or so, as the 2009 class gets to middle school.

    Let's hope that Pope and his cronies don't undermine public education even more.

  • Cary Progressive Jan 10, 2013

    "The focus should be entirely 100 percent on those students that want to be there and are trying to succeed. Those that don't want to be or are not trying are just wasting our money." - whatelseisnew

    Such anger and vitriol from conservatives these days, what with them becoming an irrelevant regional political party of angry white males. Tsk tsk. That said, whatelseisnew from the party of racism and segregation but anger and vitriol and threats?

  • Terkel Jan 10, 2013

    And quit focusing on race. They're students and the only thing that should distinguish them is their performance in the classroom.

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