Dropout rate a focus of seminarPublished 10:57pm Monday, March 21, 2011
While truancy is only slightly a problem in Selma City and Dallas County schools, the amount of students choosing to drop out of high school is a big deal.
Although state graduation rates have improved over the years, Alabama still has one of the lowest graduation rates nationwide with more than 40 percent of students failing to graduate, according to an online news source.
“Reducing our dropout rates will require us working together as a community,” said Callie Nelson, Dallas County Extension coordinator. “The consequences of not solving the problem are enormous and the statistics and stories of students not earning diplomas are alarming.”
The reason for high dropout rates, according to the Southern Education Foundation, is Alabama’s education and economic problems. The Alabama Department of Education adds that if 2 percent more students returned to school annually, more than $400 million would be generated back into the economy.
The public can get involved and voice their concerns about the issue during a public forum scheduled for March 23 at 11 a.m. inside the Hank Sanders Technology Center Conference room at Wallace Community College-Selma. The event is free and lunch will be provided.
Nelson said it’s an opportunity for the public to get involved in battling this problem.
“Attend the forum and let your voice be heard,” Nelson said. “We will weigh carefully the attractions, weaknesses, costs and consequences and find productive ways to approach the issue.”
Chris McCauley, moderator of the forum and a representative from the David Matthews Center for Civic Life, said the event is about coming together.
“Deliberative forums give citizens a chance to talk through what they hold valuable,” McCauley said. “This forum is not about party or institutional politics.”
The public can preregister for the event by calling Nelson at 875-3200.