Tuesday, July 24, 2007

African-American students leave school at a higher rate than other races

Gretchen Losi:

Dropout rates are a problem to be reckoned with. But data show the problem is more specific to certain gender and ethnic groups across the board.

"I don’t know why these trends exist, but they do, and everyone is scrambling to remedy the problem,” said Victorville teacher Frank Doherty.

According to the California Department of Education, black students drop out at a higher rate than any other, but close behind are Hispanics, followed by whites.

State data shows this is true at all the local high schools.

Victor Valley Superintendent Julian Weaver said he believes this is due partly to a disconnect of black and Hispanic ethnic groups.

He said many within the two groups don’t see a direct relationship between what they are being taught in school and it’s relevance to their future.

“I’ve wrestled with this for a long time. When you look at the groups of dropouts, they are often kids who have already seen a great deal of frustration from an academic perspective,” he said.

Weaver said they are often behind the curve in terms of graduating so don’t see the need to stay in school. Many are also from troubled homes and families.

“They’re expectation of their life span is very limited in terms of the their prospects for a healthy future in terms of economics, quality of life and whether or not they’re going to live that long in the first place,” he said.


Another pattern is found in the sexes. The state’s data shows that boys drop out at a consistently higher rate than girls.

These statistics are also found in all High Desert schools.

Barstow Unified’s Superintendent Dr. Jerry Bergmans said the reasons likely vary.

He said boys have different issues than girls. Some are more likely needed to drop out and find employment due to financial issues on the home. In some cases drugs may be involved and a lack of interest in academics may also be a factor.

Philadelphia: City Under Siege


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