January 12, 2006
Virginia is trying to make sure more students graduate from high school this year and to do that, it's enforcing tougher standards.
More than two-thirds of the students in Albemarle County graduate from schools like this--but the state's new goal is much lower and some say it's too low.
"We can do a lot better than 61 percent," said Angela Ciolfi an Attorney for Just Children.
Last year the state's goal was to graduate 57 percent of it's students--but a new goal raises that number to 61 percent.
"I think it's a shame that we are under-aspiring for graduation rates. Right now at 57 percent, the current target, we are fourth from the bottom nationally. Moving it up to 61 percent will bump us up to seventh from the bottom," said Ciolfi.
But some say it's a good start and is just a place holder as the real state graduation rate is much higher. Charlottesville just graduated 77 percent. And Albemarle attributes much of it's 84 percent graduation to providing academic options for students.
"We need to look at the number of students getting advanced student diplomas," said Bruce Benson, Assistant Superintendent of Albemarle's Student Learning. "Albemarle's very fortunate to have a high percentage of students receiving advanced student diplomas. This past year that was 63 percent and I do believe that's among the highest in the state."
Studies show that you can identify potential drop-outs as young as 4th grade and the key is to intervene early.
The Virginia Board of Education will revisits the issue after 2008.