DROPOUT REPORT by HARRY WELTY                 Page Four

this "true" dropout rate also and I have used the graduating class of 1987 and 1991 as my samples.

The graduating class of 1987 started out with 1,115 ninth grade students entering school in November of 1984. Four years later 775 seniors graduated from school. The 310 students which I presume to be dropouts account for 28 % of the original ninth graders who did not graduate. To reverse the figures that means that in 1987 Duluth only graduated 72 percent of its students. These figures do not take the small graduating class of Unity school into account. Doubtless the 10 to 20 Unity graduates would boost these results by a point or two.

There is a problem with assuming that we only graduated 72 or 73 percent of our students. There is no way of knowing what happened to the students who did not graduate. Although the greatest drop in the Duluth population preceded this time period it is still possible that a significant percent of these missing students did leave town with their families and were not replaced with an equal number of children moving into the school system.

In fact, when I calculated the same ninth through graduation figures for the class of "91." I discovered to my surprise that the Senior class had grown from its ninth grade year. At the beginning of ninth grade, in the Fall of 1987, the class of "91 " had 964 students. By the Fall of 1990 the class had grown to 1044.

What troubles me is that if Duluth did experience a large demographic influx of students, then the "true" dropout rate may be masked by a surge in enrollment and graduations.

If Duluth suffered a net loss of students in the class of "87" and a net gain in the class of "91 " perhaps by combining the two figures we could come up with a somewhat evened out "dropout rate."

            Nov.1, 9th gr.      Spring Sr.             Missing            "Dropout"
            enrollment              graduation no.       students          rate
of "87"     1115                         775                               340   7                         30.5%
of "91"       964                         870                                94    8                         9.75%
Total &
Averages 2079                       1645                               434                             20.78%

 7 This figure does not include the students who graduated from Unity School
8 This figure does not include Unity, but as I have indicated previously, the enrollment on Nov. 1st of 1990 was 1044 so that the loss for the school year 90-91 was actually greater, at 156 students, than the loss over four years which is included in this column.


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