High School Drop-Out Rate Remains High

A new study shows Alabama has one of the highest high school drops out rates in the nation. In Houston County, three out of every 10 students never get their diploma.

More than 37 percent of Dothan City and Houston County students do not graduate from high school. A number that is unacceptable to most educators.

"This is a problem all over the state, but that's no excuse. We're responsible for Houston County," says Houston Co. Superintendent Tim Pitchford.

Drop out rates are obviously high, but local high schools like Northveiw are working to create more programs to keep more student in school through graduation.

Northview High School Principal Ron Snell says "They're able to make up credits throughout the year so they don't get frustrated and drop out."

Students who drop out lose the chance to gain skills they need to earn livable wages. High school officials are trying to help students before dropping out becomes an option.

"The largest percentage of students leaves us in the 10th grade and that's when they realize their credits are down."

Both Dothan City and Houston County Schools offer programs to help students recover credits they have lost so they don't get discouraged. They're also working on offering more one on one attention to help increase student retention.

The state of Alabama drop out rate average is 40 percent and the rest of the Wiregrass fits into the equation.

According to Southern Education Foundation 2006 report, the Dale County drop out rate is just above 29 percent, Barbour County is almost 45 percent and Henry County is at 50 percent.

The Alabama Legislature is working right now to pass legislation to reduce the graduation exam requirements so more students can receive their diplomas.

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