DROPOUT REPORT BY HARRY WELTY                    Page Two

I have always assumed that the Duluth Schools were on a par with other schools in the state of Minnesota and that we graduated approximately 90 percent of our students or 1 out of 10. The first hint that I got that this was inaccurate came in a conversation with Patty Wilson, now living in the Twin Cities, who had been hired by the Duluth Schools to find ways of managing our school administration more efficiently. Ms. Wilson told me she had heard that an average of 220 to 230 children dropped out each year.

Duluth has less than a thousand seniors in all four high schools and a dropout rate of about 100 seniors would have been in line with the 10 percent dropout rate I would have expected. The 220 students Mrs. Wilson described exceeded a 20 percent dropout rate.

I have looked at recent dropout rates for two recent Senior classes in the Duluth Schools They confirm our schools disturbing dropout rate.

Each year the Duluth schools must submit enrollment and dropout rates to the State. The figures I will show are Duluth's MinnCRIS reports. CR stands for civil rights and the report is meant to keep track of the progress of women and minorities in our schools.

              Nov. 1,1990       graduates   dropouts    Dropout rate
              Sr. enrollment

CENTRAL         278          214          64              23%
DENFELD         318          247          71            22.3%
4              431          396          35              8%
UNITY                 17            13            4            23.5%
Total               1044          870        174             16.6%

4 In the case of East High school there was some confusion about how many seniors started the year and how many graduated. The first figures I got from Mr. Juola's office showed 366 senior entering and 396 graduating. This puzzled me and on checking back I was told that the figures were indeed odd and that the explanation might be that columns of figures had been deleted due to an imperfect photocopying mistake. I called Principal White at East and he interrupted his busy day to check his own figures. He came up with a figure of 398 students starting the year and 375 graduating. After this call Mr. Juola's office called again and gave me figures of 431 seniors starting the year and 396 graduating. I still do not know which figures are correct so I have opted to use the figures from Mr. Juolas office to be consistent in my sources. This points up one of the earlier assertions in my statement: that school records are in disarray concerning dropouts.


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