Governor Bev Perdue joined a meeting of principals and school counselors in Wilmington Thursday to, as WHQR’s Michelle Bliss reports, discuss the county’s new strategies for lowering the dropout rate and helping kids flip that tassel.
One of Perdue’s main topics for discussion was New Hanover’s Dropout Prevention Task Force, a group that has incorporated graduation coaches at area high schools and developed a reduced elective credit diploma for students who have fallen behind and are at risk of dropping out. Perdue says that the value of the county’s efforts is in the data: the task force helped about 100 students stay in school.
“You can attribute that, in some part, to the focused effort they’ve made on individual students in the system who are high risk. And if you can save 100 lives a year, you’re going to make a real difference in the economy of New Hanover County and southeastern North Carolina.”
Overall last year, North Carolina hit its lowest dropout rate ever recorded at 3.4 percent. That’s still more than 15,000 students.
The rate in New Hanover is now 3.8 percent down from 4.9 percent. That means 295 students dropped out of school in the 2010-2011 school year compared to 385 students the year before. At the meeting, educators asked the governor about funding for the essentials. Perdue said she’ll be proposing a sales increase of three-quarters of a cent for education in her next budget.
“You have heard people here talk about the lack of funding for teacher assistants and teachers, no teacher salary increases, the lack of ability to recruit good principals to some schools. I mean, these are human resources needs. If you’re a wonderful educator, you’re going to go to the state that rewards quality.”
Perdue said she would also support a constitutional amendment prohibiting the legislature from using lottery revenue for anything other than education, which is what it’s earmarked for. Georgia is the only state with such a law.
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