02.08.08

Burr: We Must Do More To Keep Kids In School

North Carolina report shows increase in drop-out rate

U.S. Senator Richard Burr today commented on yesterday's report on North Carolina's high school dropout rate. The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction issued its annual report on dropout rates on Thursday. The report shows an increase in the number of kids leaving the state's high schools without a diploma.

"Thursday's report is further proof that we must do more to keep kids in school and help them earn a high school diploma. Our changing economy demands skilled workers with a good education. Kids are dropping out of school because we simply aren't meeting their needs. There is much we can do to encourage them to stay in school and to improve our high schools to meet the needs of today's students. In particular, we know that there are 3 R's to making our high schools work better for students—Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships," Burr said.

"Kids need caring and qualified teachers who provide a challenging curriculum that encourages them to finish high school and prepares them to succeed in college and the work force. I will continue to work to improve our federal education policy so that North Carolina students have the skills they need to succeed," Burr added.

Senator Burr introduced the Graduate for a Better Future Act (S.765) in March of 2007. The legislation aims to help public high schools improve graduation rates by focusing on Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships. The bill establishes a competitive grant program targeted at school districts and high schools with the lowest graduation rates.

According to a report by Civic Enterprises, 88% of high school dropouts had passing grades when they dropped out; 58% dropped out with two or fewer years left to complete high school; 66% said they would have worked harder in school if expectations had been higher; 81% realized a high school diploma was vital to their success in life; and 74% said they would have stayed in school if they had the opportunity to do it all over again.

Senator Burr is a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP).