Dropout Rates Remain Grim: 2011 Oregon Rates Released

The 2011 Oregon Dropout rates were just released, and it’s still looking grim for Oregon high school students.  The statistic that is on everyone’s mind is this: only 2 out of 3 Oregon high school students will graduate from an Oregon high school in four years.  As I scanned through the list of data, I was particularly dismayed to see that rates in the 40-50% range were incredibly common in the Portland Public School district.  Unacceptable.  While the rates of schools like Roosevelt did creep up (kudos on that!), they are nowhere near good enough.  These rates do not reflect a system that is supporting the kids in our community.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the recent statistics on dropout rates.  What do you think?  What is the root of the problem?  What are good solutions?


2 thoughts on “Dropout Rates Remain Grim: 2011 Oregon Rates Released

  1. “These rates do not reflect a system that is supporting the kids in our community.” Well put.

    Obviously each kid is dealing with a unique set of circumstances but I think that there are a few common issues that lead to(ward) dropping out.

    1. Boredom (kids don’t feel connected to their school community or engaged by their coursework).

    2. School doesn’t look, feel, seem to be relevant (to kids day-to-day lives/struggles).

    3. Shortage of folks who reach out and make a personal stake in an at-risk student.

    4. School to prison pipeline, criminalization of the most petty infractions (the innocent goofing that we see depicted in films like The Christmas Story now results in being thrown-down, hand-cuffed, and hauled off to juvi and then before a judge.

    5. It’s easier to alienate young people who are difficult to teach and who perform poorly on standardized tests than it is to push up our sleeves and connect with them despite the fire storm of pressure to lift up test scores.

    When I was interviewing for the New York Teaching Fellows, my interviewer and I had a brief conversation about this issue. He said something that really resonated with me, “Kids don’t drop out, they DRIP out.” I love that because it highlights that fact that there are many indications, and thus many opportunities, to recognize that a student is not engaged and to do something about it.

    Personally, I am a big fan of private-public partnerships that link schools with private organizations to provide learning and mentoring opportunities for all kids.

    A report you may be interested in if you haven’t already seen it: http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/news/story.jhtml?id=133800007

    • Kmariej: That image of “dripping” out of school instead of dropping out is a vivid one. One of the community partner organizations I work with uses the phrase “pushed out” instead of “dropped out.” Do you agree that some kids are pushed out instead of slowly seeping out over time?

      What you said about public-private partnerships is something I think about a lot. With state or federal money hard to come by, it seems like these kinds of partnerships are some of the only ways to go in terms of funding support programs. However, do these partnerships come with strings attached or agendas that are not the general public’s?

      Thanks for commenting. I look forward to hearing more from you!

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