DROPOUT REPORT by HARRY WELTY             Page Five

There are two way to interpret this data. On the one hand Duluth suffered a net loss of students to migration in the earlier years which was counterbalanced in the later years. If so the best that can be said for our schools is that they only manage to graduate a little in excess of 80% of their students.

On the other hand, a statistician could conclude that because the "dropout rate" had fallen so precipitously over the four years from 1987 to 1991 that the Duluth Schools were obviously making great strides in staunching the flow of dropouts.

The "Dropout report" which was conducted in the Spring of 1989, between these two graduation years, seems to clearly refute this last suggestion. Such an optimistic analysis recalls the old saw, "Figures never lie but liars figure."

The "Dropout Study" makes several recommendations about what to do to solve the problem of dropouts and for the most part I agree with its conclusions and recommendations. I would, however, make one major change.

I have been a teacher in the very system that the "Dropout Report" describes. From my experience as a teacher I have concluded that Junior high teachers have little incentive or authority to act as a cohesive team to address these and other problems. I suggest that Site Based Management is the least we can do to improve all aspects of our schools. I want to negotiate greater powers and responsibilities for teachers in future contracts. I believe that teachers, not expensive program changes, are the key to lifting the academic performance, not only of dropouts, but of all our children.

If I am elected to the School board I will make this my main objective for the duration of my term.

The End