U.Va. conference for K-12 educators about the dropout problem and 'Dropout Factories'

November 09, 2007

Nov. 7, 2007 -- Tomorrow and Friday U.Va. is hosting a conference for K-12 educators from across the state on dealing with the drop-out problem.

Quick stat:
Nearly one-third of all public high school students — and nearly one half of all African-American, Hispanic, and Native American students — fail to graduate from public high school with their class.

U.Va. has been hosting conferences on this general issue every year since 2002, and organizers expect about 175 educators from across Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic to attend.
Robert Lynn Canady, professor emeritus of education, is U.Va.'s exp ert on this issue. He'll open the conference, with an overview of the dropout issue from 8:30 to 9:15 a.m. on Thurs.  He's been a consultant to many school systems across the country, so he has great on-the-ground anecdotes about how schools deal with dropouts, often trying to obfuscate the problem to improve their statistics.

He's followed immediately by Nettie Legters of Johns Hopkins University (9:15 to 10 a.m.)  She and her colleague at Johns Hopkins, Bob Balfanz, did the research for the AP that made major headlines recently about how "1 in 10 Schools Are 'Dropout Factories'"--defined as a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year.
Virginia has 22 such 'dropout factories' — the nearest are in Lynchburg and Richmond — 7.59 percent of VA schools were rated as 'dropout factories', which is slightly better than the national average.