In Lewis and Clark County the high school dropout rate is 8. 8 percent; the only counties with higher percentages are Big Horn and Roosevelt.

Helena Superintendent Keith Meyer says the dropout rate is about 15 to 18 percent for high schools here.

As the district begins to look at the data, administrators may take a closer look at students who change schools, he said.

“There is a certain percentage of students that there seems to be a mobility rate that is leading us to believe it’s one of the red flags we will be watching,” Meyer said.

He said one possible solution is to let children stay in the same school even if their family moves.

Those are exactly the types of changes communities need to explore, says Laura Speer, associate director for policy reform and data at the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

If small indicators improve, such as graduation rates, Montana’s overall ranking could improve.

“It’s important states focus on where there is opportunities for improvement,” Speer said.

The goal of the annual report is to help policy makers make better decisions for kids, particularly thinking about how the recession has affected them.

“We hope that children will be part of the discussion when it comes to talks of the recession and the impact that it’s had on them,” she said. “We need to think about the impacts long term on kids and what are ways we can make sure the impact is mitigated as much as possible.”

(1) comment

Gadfly

Hmm. Helena has a high dropout rate? Gee, sure it has nothing to do with an entire system that dismisses low income kids, particularly those of color, as not worth the time or bother. For all the teabaggers fuss over the health curriculum, the real problem is that the system is actually very reactionary. Unless you are a "normal bright" kid, or are lucky enough to get into the individual classes taught by teachers who aren't burned out, forget it if you are different!

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