January 11, 2007
The current rate of students graduating in four years is 57 percent.
A majority of Virginia's Schools already graduate a higher percentage on time, but the goal is aimed at the bottom ten percent of schools that fall below that mark.
The state Board of Education approved the goal yesterday for the 2007-2008 school year. Mark Emblidge, the Board president, calls the 61 percent "a place holder."
Martin Ringstaff, principal of Dan River High School in
Pittsylvania County, says that some students take five years to
graduate, but are counted as dropouts because they did not complete
school in four years.
Board member Andrew Rotherham voted against the 61 percent goal,
saying it's too low. He says white children in Virginia tend to
graduate at a rate of about 80 percent, while the percentage of
black and Hispanic children who reach graduation hovers in the mid-
to low 60s.
The state's previous 57 percent graduation rate target was set
in 2001 to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act.