Garrett Calls State Dropouts 'A Silent Epidemic'

Thursday, March 26th 2009, 10:04 am
By: News 9

Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY - State Superintendent Sandy Garrett told those attending an education event that Oklahoma's student dropout levels have reached "epidemic" proportions.

Garrett, speaking at the state Department of Education's Dropout Summit yesterday, said Oklahoma education leaders want to create dropout intervention teams in every school district in the state.

School districts reported that 5,214 students dropped out of high schools in Oklahoma last year. Garrett says work to prevent those dropouts should start as early as sixth grade.

The State Superintendent's Student Advisory Council, which consists of 50 students from throughout Oklahoma, partially developed the proposal to create the intervention teams.

Garrett says that when educators asked the students for ideas to reduce dropouts, the students said classes should be more hands-on and smaller.

She says the students also cited knowledgeable and engaging teachers and parental involvement as important factors.