DROPOUT REPORT by HARRY WELTY Page ThreeThe figure of 16.6 percent non graduation/dropout rate for seniors in the Duluth schools is extremely troubling. Granted some of these students may be graduating at a later date, but I am concerned about an even more troubling problem.5
Most of our dropouts don't wait until they are seniors in high school to drop out. Students in Minnesota are allowed to quit school at age sixteen which is roughly the time most students complete junior high school. In fact, the "Dropout Study" points out that most of our dropouts begin leaving school shortly after they turn sixteen.6
If this is true, then the figures of dropouts from our senior high school are extremely misleading. I suspect that there may be as many as 660 school age children in Duluth between the ages of 16 and 18 who are not in school today.
The school district paid a lot of money for the "Dropout Report" but so far as I can detect little has been done with it and already it seems to have been largely forgotten.
One of the junior High counselors I talked to had been irritated that outsiders were hired to put together the report. In fact he took it upon himself to figure out the dropout rate himself. He went to the public library and asked for the newspapers which showed how many students had graduated from Duluth high schools. He took a look at the enrollment figures which are compiled for each class at the beginning of the year and he followed one set of ninth graders through their senior year to find out how many graduated.
He would have been looking at the graduating classes from around 1987 and 1988. He concluded that 80 percent of our students were not graduating. I have taken it upon myself to try to figure...5 I have used two graduation dates in this report 1990 and 1987. If you look at
the MinnCRIS reports for 1987 you will find that the drop out rate of seniors
alone is 22.1 percent. These are the figures for the three senior high schools: Srs. in graduates dropouts dropout
Nov. 87 Sp. 88 rate
CENTRAL 308 213
6 Study Report of Early School Leavers from Duluth Public Schools. page 28