WASHINGTON: A new report says the number of Ohio high schools considered ''dropout factories'' jumped from 75 to 135 over the eight years ending 2010, an increase that far outpaced other states.
The data is part of research being presented Monday at the Grad Nation summit in Washington. The summit has been organized by the children's advocacy group America's Promise Alliance, founded by former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
The group defines dropout factories as schools that fail to graduate more than 60 percent of students on time.
With 60 schools added to the category in Ohio, the state had the biggest increase among the states, followed by Nevada with an increase of 19 schools. In terms of numbers of students attending dropout factory schools, Ohio's increase was about 12,500.
Colleen Wilber at America's Promise said researchers see this as a reason to take a closer look at the state. She said Ohio's jump could be attributed in part to the state previously having a number of schools on the cusp perhaps having 61 or 62 percent of students graduating that have now dipped below the 60 percent benchmark. She said the economic downturn and increased foreclosures could be factors contributing to the change.
Ohio also has seen pockets of progress, she said. The report shows the state's graduation rate was up 2.1 percentage points to 79.6 from 2002 to 2009.
Nationwide, the graduation rate was 75 percent, and dropout factories fell by more than 450, with 1,550 remaining.
The report was written by researchers at Civic Enterprises, a public policy firm, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University.
Online: America's Promise Alliance at http://www.americaspromise.org/; Civic Enterprises at http://www.civicenterprises.net/; Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University at www.every1graduates.org .