According to the 2010 Statewide Dropout and Graduate Report released by the Office of Public Instruction, Montana’s dropout rate is on the decline. In 2010, the number of dropouts decreased dramatically for all students, and the statewide dropout rate declined to 3.0 percent for grades 7-12 compared to 3.6 percent in 2009. The high school dropout rate decreased by .8 points to 4.3 percent in 2010 compared to 5.1 percent in 2009.
In 2009, 2,423 students dropped out of school in grades 7-12 compared to 2,010 students in the 2010 school year. Montana’s completion rate improved from 81.9 percent to 82.1 percent.
“Making dropout prevention a statewide priority is starting to pay off for Montana students,” said Superintendent Juneau. “I believe in taking a hard look at data and confronting our challenges when we discover them. This news is truly something to celebrate as we mark the end of the school year.”
Additionally, the dropout rate for American Indian students in grades 7-12 also decreased to 7.2 percent compared to 8.8 percent in 2009. In particular, the dropout rate for American Indian high school females decreased sharply by 2.1 percentage points.
“We know that a high school diploma is necessary for an individual’s economic success,” said Juneau. “It’s important to keep this positive momentum going so that all students have the opportunity to go to college or get a great job.”
Superintendent Juneau has launched a statewide initiative, Graduation Matters Montana, to address the state’s dropout rate and to ensure that Montana students graduate from high school ready for college and careers.
As part of Graduation Matters Montana, Juneau recently recommended adoption of the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and Math. She also created the first-ever Superintendent’s Student Advisory Board and advocated for raising the legal dropout age to “age 18 or upon graduation” during the 2011 Legislative Session.
According to the Alliance for Excellent Education, the lost lifetime earnings in Montana from dropouts this year alone total nearly $830 million. The economy of Montana would see a combination of crime-related savings and additional revenue of about $19.6 million each year if the male high school graduation rate would increase by just 5 percent.
The Statewide Dropout and Graduate Report can be found here:
Three Year Trend Data for Graduation and Dropout Rates can be found here: opi.mt.gov/PDF/Measurement/11_3YR-Trend-Data-Graduation-Rates.pdf