Education Editorial: Dropout rates

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.

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