The graduation rate for NC high school students is 60%. That number would be less depressing if they mentioned that it means that 60% graduate with their original cohort, rather than at all. Unfortunately, the state means graduated, period, when it cites that statistic. The good news? NC doesn't bother to count all the students who graduate from a non-traditional high school setting. The thousands of students who earn a GED each year count against a school's dropout rate. What impact does that have? Well, in the case of my particular school and district, it means that we fight to keep students who are 2 and 3 years behind their original graduating class in school, and that we have 19 and 20 year old students taking the freshman classes they still need to graduate. Yes, that's right, 19 and 20, sitting in class in the fall next to 13 and 14 year old freshmen... hm... does that sound like a wise idea to you?
So what is NC going to do about it? Well, the state legislature is considering not counting students who leave a traditional high school for a GED programme as dropouts. This needs to happen, and soon, for the sake of the students who are leaving (or should), if nothing else. If you happen to live in NC and read this, email/call/write/harass your local rep.