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For Immediate Release
Monday, November 19, 2001
Contact:Heidi B. Perlman 781-338-3106 or Jonathan Palumbo 781-338-3105

Statewide high school dropout rates down from 1999

MALDEN - Statewide high school drop out rates dipped slightly to 3.5 percent in 2000, a drop from 3.6 percent in 1999, according to a Department of Education study released on Monday.

In all, a total of 9,199 students in grades nine through 12 dropped out of public high schools during the 1999-2000 school year, and did not return by October 1, 2000. Of those students, 2,565 were in 10th grade, 2,444 were in 11th grade, 2,430 were in ninth grade and 1,761 were high school seniors.

An additional 1,675 students dropped out during the 1999-00 reporting year, but had returned to school by October 1, 2000.

"As we continue to both hold all of our students to higher standards, and provide them with the tools and extra help they need to get ahead, I am confident our drop out rate will continue its decline," said Education Commissioner David P. Driscoll.

Many urban communities saw declines in their district-wide dropout rates. In Lawrence, dropouts went from 19.2 percent in 1999 to 12.2 percent in 2000. Springfield’s numbers dropped from 7.2 percent to 6 percent in 2000. And in Boston, the dropout rate dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent.

According to the report, across the state 8.2 percent of high school aged Hispanic students dropped out, a significant dip from the 9.8 percent who dropped out the previous year, but still the highest rate among different ethnic groups.

In addition, 6.1 percent of African-American students in that age group dropped out, down from 6.7 percent the previous year. In addition, 4.2 percent of Native American students dropped out, up from 4 percent; 4 percent of Asian students dropped out, up from 3.6 percent; and 2.6 percent of white students dropped out, up from 2.5 percent.

As has been the trend in past years, more males dropped out than their female peers. A total of 5,362, or 4 percent of males dropped out, as compared with 2.9 percent, or 3,837 females. Females were also more likely to return to school after leaving.

At vocational-technical schools, statewide the dropout rate rose to 3.2 percent from 2.9 percent the previous year.

At charter schools, of the 2,550 students in grades nine through 12, 120 students dropped out, a drop out rat e of 4.7 percent. Of the 18 charter schools with high school-aged students, six had no dropouts, six had a dropout rate of between .1 and 3 percent, one had a rate of 4.9 percent, and three had a rate of more than 10 percent.

"While it’s encouraging to see these numbers go down, we are still far from our goal," Commissioner Driscoll said. "As our teachers continue to focus on the needs of our most troubled students, over time we hope to eventually see these numbers get even smaller."

The dropout report can be viewed in its entirety on the Department of Education’s Web site.

Last Updated: November 19, 2001
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