Ohio

Eye on Education

Topics

Empty classroom

What You Need to Know About Ohio's High School Dropouts

Background

Typically, a student’s labeled as a dropout if they’re over the age of 18 and haven’t completed high school. But that classification might not exactly tell the full story.

Each state’s dropout definition, along with the national definition, can be slightly different.

In Ohio, a student’s a dropout if they:

  • Leave school due to truancy, getting a job, or being over 18 years old
  • Move to another area and aren’t in school
  • Complete class requirements, but don’t pass the Ohio Graduation Test

In 2010, more than 23,000 students dropped out across the state, according to a report released late last year by the Ohio Education Research Center.

But it’s relatively easy for those numbers to get a little skewed in a handful of ways.

“The dropout rate is inflated by what you might call a life course perspective,” said Joshua Hawley, the executive director of Ohio Education Research Center.

Over the course of a lifetime students can enroll back into school several times or eventually earn their GED, Hawley explained.

The Ohio Department of Education doesn’t technically track a student once they leave school. Instead, they track dropout events, which occur when someone leaves school for one of the reasons listed above.

The ODE tends to focus on the state’s graduation rate, or the number of students graduating every year. But the graduation rate and the dropout rate aren’t actually inverses of each other–each rate is found using a different formula.

“There’s dropouts of every demographic,” said Colleen Wilber, Vice President of Media Relations for the non-profit America’s Promise Alliance. “We have kids dropping out from every race, every class, every part of society.”

As far as who’s dropping out in Ohio, African American students are more likely to drop out in ninth grade, but white students are more likely to drop out by twelfth grade. And students living in urban areas are more than six times more likely to drop out than their urban and suburban peers.

Latest Posts

2015 Community Learning Centers Grants Focus On Literacy

Ohio is adding 61 locations to its roster of federally funded centers that help school kids improve their reading skills. The funding comes from the 21st Century Learning Centers grant reauthorized under the No Child Left Behind education law. The U.S. Department of education has been doling out funds to states for after school programs [...]

The Impact of Foster Care on Students’ Education

STEVENDEPOLO / FLICKR Harold Sloke was 12-years-old when he entered South Carolina’s foster care system. Not long after that, he ended up repeating ninth grade three times. “A lot of my caseworkers believed I would never graduate, so they just kept passing me along, and I kept getting into trouble,” Sloke told The Annie E. [...]

The Dropout Dilemma: Panel Explores Causes And Solutions

There are many reasons kids drop out of school: lack of parental guidance, poverty, crisis circumstances such as pregnancy, disinterest, and the list goes on. Dropping out occurs to some degree in just about every community. But it’s most concentrated in poor, urban school districts.  And it was there that a special edition of Ideas, [...]

How Ohio’s Big Urban Districts Intervene To Prevent Dropouts

DAVEDILLIONPHOTO / FLICKR For decades, districts have struggled to address the needs of the students considered most at risk of never graduating. In 1963, the Ohio Department of Education developed two programs to give those students work experience since they were likely leaving school to get a low-skilled job anyway. Over the years, those programs [...]

Why Being A Truancy Officer “Is Like Running in Mud”

Truancy officer Larry Keating works on paperwork at his desk in Springfield, Ohio.

Every morning Larry Keating parks himself near the entrance to Keifer Academy in Springfield, Ohio – a city of about 60,000 west of Columbus. As students shuffle in, his blue-grey eyes are busy behind his silver glasses, continually darting from the doors to his attendance sheet. Back and forth, back and forth. His pencil hits [...]

Northeast Ohio’s Dropout Dilemma

LOOP_OH / FLICKR We’ve talked a lot about Ohio’s dropout problem: who’s dropping out, common reasons why students may leave, and how dropouts affect Ohio’s economy. According to the Ohio Education Research Center’s dropout tracking report, dropouts are a big problem for the state’s “Big 8″ urban districts. Northeast Ohio’s a bit unique, in that [...]

How Career Tech Education Helped One Student Parlay A Hobby Into A Salary

For most high school students, the idea of being held back a grade is pretty discouraging. But when now 20-year-old Spencer Wolf was told he’d have to repeat the tenth grade, he says he was grateful. As a student at Fairmont High School in Kettering near Dayton, Wolf says he felt the classwork in his [...]

The Sound of Ideas: School Safety Nets

A new milestone in education was touted last week: 80 percent of students nationwide graduate high school. But that still means one in every five 5 students does not get a high school diploma. With this statistic in mind, The Sound of Ideas what safety nets are in place for students who may be at [...]

Updated: Two Education Bills That Could Help Ohio’s Dropouts

THOTH 188 / FLICKR This spring, Governor John Kasich called attention to Ohio’s dropout problem when he mentioned the 24,000 students who leave Ohio schools without a diploma each year. In his mid-year budget review, Kasich laid out a number of initiatives to get students at risk of dropping out re-engaged in their education. The resulting legislation made [...]

How The Struggle To Read Becomes A Path To Drop Out

Reading is essential to almost every aspect of learning. When students have poor reading skills, it can put them behind both academically and socially, and decrease their odds of earning a high school diploma. That’s what happened to thirty-year-old Linda Jones. “My process of learning how to read in elementary school was very difficult,” she [...]

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »

Economy
Education