Dropout rates are improving. Research at Johns Hopkins
indicates that significant progress has been made in reducing the national
rates and therefore the real numbers of dropouts.
One observation is that if
the rate of a dozen years ago had been applied, nearly two million fewer
students would be walking across stages for their high school commencements."It's actually a
story of remarkable social improvement," observed the researcher.
In the past, dropout rates have been misleading, if not deceptive. One school division or
state would report the number of students entering the senior year against
those graduating 180 days later. Others accurately used the students entering
the 9th grade against those graduating four years later. We can
thank a former Virginia Governor for bringing national consistency to the issue.
While celebrating remarkable improvement, we should not take our eyes from the
numbers that are yet disturbing and unacceptable, the dropout rates of Blacks
and Hispanics, especially where we live. Most compelling is that Virginia
research has indicated that students don't dropout because school is to
hard, they don't think anyone really cares.