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Over the past few months, StateImpact has been reporting on different aspects of the dropout problem in Ohio.
Research shows students who have a low level of literacy, a high truancy rate, learning disabilities, or who get pregnant as teens have a higher likelihood of dropping out of school.
But there are other reasons students leave school too soon.
On WCPN’s public affairs show The Sound of Ideas today, our Amy Hansen summarized how life circumstances often distract students from earning a diploma.
“One of the biggest factors that I have seen firsthand from getting out and talking to people who have dropped out or who are at risk for dropping out is just the events that are going on outside of students’ school life really dictates how their whole environment is with learning.”
A woman named Liz from Medina called in to the show and echoed that sentiment. She says she dropped out at age 18 due of her abusive home situation. She says she wishes Governor John Kasich’s plans to focus on dropout prevention involved more than boosting vocational education.
“It’s troubling to me that the governor’s plan is sort of thinking that students have a support network in place or are able to think ahead in their futures to even plan on saying, ‘oh, two years from now when I’m 18 and I’m going to graduate, I’m going to be a welder’…When you’re dealing with chaos as a child, you don’t have the ability to make those kinds of decisions.”
“I’d really like to see something where they’re talking about addressing the social needs of kids that are in school and identifying some ways to figure out how can schools or communities support kids who have needs like what my needs were.”
Governor Kasich has said he wants to implement mentor programs of sorts that could offer students support outside the home and the school, but these don’t fully address the social services Liz suggests students like her might need.
You can listen to the full Sound of Ideas discussion on dropouts here.