Tuesday, November 13, 2007

A joint legislative committee (study group) on the high school dropout rate began meeting today and I spent most of my morning attending the meeting.

Essentially the state's graduation rate is less than 70-percent and the dropout rate is over 5-percent and the state is looking for ways to fix the problem. This meeting comes after a dozen public hearings across the state.

While the problem is now, the chair of the committee essentially said solutions will take time.

"So we don't want to be rushed into maybe next session because we're going to have to look at programs that are just starting that just getting off the ground," Rep. Earline Parmon (D-Forsyth) said.

I take that to mean they don't expect to recommend any major legislation next May for the short session which means little if nothing will be done on the dropout issue next year (at least from a legislative perspective). I'm told to expect continued growth of Learn and Earn schools and other initiatives already in the pipeline.

Rep. Parmon added that after the 12 hearings (actually 11 because the last one is this Thursday) she's seen a pattern that it's a community issue. Basically, each community has its own problem feeding the dropout issue and that means there will need to be different solutions to fit the different problems.

The committee will meet several times over the next several months.

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