Last week the Department of Public Instruction-Exceptional Children Programs presented to the Education Oversight Committee a report detailing the current state of educational service models for students with disabilities. During this presentation it was revealed that 4 LEA's in 2006-2007 did not graduate a single student with a disability. The report also disclosed that fewer than 42% of students with disabilities did not attain a Level III score or better on the End-of-Course tests.
Late today we received the full, eighteen page report from the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction Exceptional Children Programs. How many students with disabilities dropped out last year? 4,050. How many students graduated with a diploma? 5,179. How many students received a certificate? 1,011. How do these dropout numbers compare to previous reports? In 2003-2004 there were 3,876 dropouts, and in 2004-2005 there were 3,799. These numbers are based on youth with IEP's.
Who were those four LEA's that did not graduate a single student with a disability, and how many students were affected? Now we know. The 4 LEAs had a total drop out number of 56 students. Scotland County had all 38 of its students with disabilities drop out. That is 100%. Scotland County was joined by Chatham County (4), Graham County (6) and Franklin County (8). What was not mentioned in the presentation, but was included in the report was that five Charter schools also had a 100% drop out rate for students with disabilities. These Charter schools are Central Park (1), Chatham Charter (1), Crossroads Charter High (2), Sandhills Theatre Arts Renaissance (1), and Woods Charter (1).
Three LEA's and eight Charter schools did manage to have 100% of students with disabilities exit with either a diploma or a certificate in 2006-2007. The LEAs are Thomasville City Schools (9), Tyrrell County Schools (8), and Camden Schools (3). The Charter schools are CG Woodson School of Challenge (1), East Wake Academy (2), Gray Stone Day (1), Hawbridge School (6), Kennedy Charter (5), Pace Academy (12), Raleigh Charter High (12), and River Mill Academy (3).
These sixty two children attending these four LEA's and Charter schools are just tip of the iceberg. There are over 4,000 students with disabilities who did not get a cap and gown last year, who did not hear pomp and circumstance, and who did not receive a diploma or a certificate from their high school. Clearly, we need to continue to challenge our schools to do more for students with disabilities, who deserve and should demand equitable educational opportunity.