The Norman Transcript

Opinion

January 23, 2013

Schools making progress in graduating students

NORMAN — Oklahoma schools are making good progress in keeping students in school and graduating them on time.

The national study released Tuesday shows the state dropout rate fell to 2.4 percent during the 2009-2010 school year. That’s down significantly from the 3.6 percent rate four years earlier.

It comes at a time when schools are under increased pressure to be more accountable to taxpayers and parents. The new A-F grading system, which was deemed as having statistical limitations by independent researchers from OU and OSU, hit struggling schools hardest.

Oklahoma, which ranks near the bottom in per-student funding, ranked 14th in the nation for the lowest high school dropout rate. The AP reports that the Department of Education study shows New Hampshire had the lowest dropout rates at 1.2 percent, while Arizona had the highest at 7.8 percent.

The better rates also comes at a time when Oklahoma higher education officials are pushing graduation rates. Business and industry site locators look at both high school and college graduation rates when making decisions.

National education officials said the higher graduation rate is a reflection of the nation’s economy. Competition for jobs pushes more students to finish high school. Rates improved in 38 states between 2009 and 2010.

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