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Education Study Focuses on High School Graduation Rates

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/educations_1738.mp3

A new education survey shows about 30 percent of students nationwide who enter high school will not graduate.

KSMU's Matt Petcoff found that while Missouri has more graduating students than the national average, some of those students may not be prepared for life after high school...

Education Week, an American education newspaper, published a survey titled Diplomas Count that estimates more than 1.2 million students' nationwide entering high school will not graduate.

That's three out of every ten.

In Missouri, that number falls to an average of 2.5 out of every ten.

Diplomas Count then categorized the professions typically available to the different type of students... the high school drop out, the high school graduate, the college graduate and so on.

Christopher Swanson is the director of the non-profit E-P-E Research Center, which helped conduct the survey.

He says the difference in salaries between these types of students can be staggering.

Missouri ranks in the top half of states when it comes to overall graduation rates and minority graduation rates, a problem area nationwide.

But, the study found that Missouri does not define what a college-ready or work-ready high school graduate should know.

Eleven other states define what a college-ready student is and 21 have a definition for work readiness.

Additionally, nearly half the states require exit exams for the class of 2007... something Missouri lacks.

Jim Morris is the Director of Public Information for the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

He says some changes are in the works, but what he finds troubling is students aren't realizing the importance of their high school education, regardless of post graduation plans.

Morris says the toughest problem is striking a balance between using resources to retain students and using resources to educate the students who stay in school.

He says what's important to remember is that while every student isn't bound for college, more knowledge and skills are required to succeed in today's economy.