Editorial - Behind the dropout rate
After falling to 4 percent in the 1995-96 school year, Washington County's high school dropout rate rose to 5.1 percent this year, a level that it hadn't hit in almost 10 years. To find out why, and to prevent the rate from escalating, school officials need to question young dropouts and discourage local employers from hiring them.
School officials say that pupil-personnel workers have already made contact with many students who'd decided to leave school. But they add that in some cases, the departures were unannounced: Students just left one day and didn't come back.
These are the young people who need to be questioned about their decision. Had they been discouraged with school for a long time, just marking time until they could legally call it quits? Or was the prospect of immediate employment more attractive than the idea of sitting in a classroom?