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Closer look at dropout, suspension numbers

At first glance, the consolidated data reportreleased Thursday by the N.C. Department of Instruction seemed to be brimming with good news about improvements, with declines in the state’s dropout rate, long-term and short-term suspensions.

But troubling facts still remain.

Here are just a few of the statistics plucked from the 145-page report being submitted to the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee.

  • One out of every seven North Carolina high school students had a short-term suspension in the 2010-11 school year. The average length suspension was for 6 days.
  • Boys were more than two times as likely to be suspended than girls, and black students had disproportionately high rates of suspension, followed by Native Americans.
  • Two school districts – Robeson and Columbus – made up 60 percent of the 891 instances of corporal punishment statewide. (Only 17 school districts reported any instances of hitting as a form a discipline). Robeson had 40 percent of the total, and Columbus had  22 percent of instances of corporal punishment. (Most school districts have banned physically hitting children as acceptable forms of classroom punishment, according to a September report by N.C. Action for Children).
  • The bulk of physical punishment was metered out in elementary schools, with 3rd and 4th grades seeing the most.  White students, followed by Native Americans, received the brunt of the punishment.
  • Disabled children were the recipients of corporal punishment in one out of every five instances.
  • 15,342 students dropped out of high school last year, a decrease of 9 percent from the year before and part of a four-year decrease in dropout rates.
  • Hispanic students had the highest high school dropout rate (4.7 percent of all Hispanic students), followed by black (4.3%), Native American (4.12 %) and multi-racial students (3.14%). White students had a 2.9 percent dropout rate, while 1.4 percent of all Asian high school students dropped out of school.

Want to skim the numbers for yourself? The DPI report is available here.

4 Comments

  1. Alex

    February 3, 2012 at 7:42 am

    We won’t have to worry about this in the future because Obama is not going to let them drop out. Problem solved.

  2. Frances Jenkins

    February 3, 2012 at 6:59 pm

    A cohort number is different than a real dropout number. They are not telling the entire truth. The truth matters.

  3. gregflynn

    February 5, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    Not understanding something doesn’t that mean someone’s not telling truth. There’s a clear difference between dropout rate and graduation rate. If you care to read the press release properly, here is what it says:

    In considering the annual dropout rate, it is important to note that this rate is not the same as the four-year cohort graduation rate. The graduation rate follows a group of ninth graders across four years’ time and reports the percentage of these students who graduate four years after they begin high school. The annual dropout rate illustrates the number and percentage of students who drop out during one year’s time. Some of these students may return to school in the subsequent year and complete high school; others may drop out multiple times. The four- year cohort graduation rate is considered a more comprehensive picture of this issue.

    The graduation rate has been steadily improving in recent years.

  4. gregflynn

    February 5, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    Correx: Not understanding something doesn’t mean that someone’s not telling truth.