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NEWS RELEASES 2011-12

NEWS RELEASES 2011-12 :: FEBRUARY 2, 2012

DROPOUT RATE REACHES NEW RECORD LOW; ACTS OF CRIME AND VIOLENCE AMONG HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS ALSO DECREASE

Fewer students dropped out of North Carolina public schools in 2010-11 than ever before while the number of acts of crime and violence reported among high school students and suspensions and expulsions among all students also decreased according to the 2010-11 Consolidated Data Report today presented to the State Board of Education.

"In these tough economic times, it is clear that more of our students are understanding how earning a high school diploma is their ticket to success in higher education, job training and a career," said State Superintendent June Atkinson. "This report also proves that our educators and school leaders are working hard to maintain discipline and safety in our classrooms so that more students are staying in school and on track for graduation."

Key findings of the 2010-11 Consolidated Data Report show that:

Dropout Rate

  • The annual high school dropout rate decreased from 3.75 percent to 3.43 percent for 2010-11. A total of 15,342 high school students dropped out in 2010-11 as compared to 16,804 students in 2009-10 (8.7% decrease).
  • For all grades, the number of students dropping out decreased to 15,773 from 17,346 the prior year.
  • About 63 percent of North Carolina school districts experienced a decrease in dropout rates.

In considering the annual dropout rate, it is important to note that this rate is not the same as the four-year cohort graduation rate. The graduation rate follows a group of ninth graders across four years' time and reports the percentage of these students who graduate four years after they begin high school. The annual dropout rate illustrates the number and percentage of students who drop out during one year's time. Some of these students may return to school in the subsequent year and complete high school; others may drop out multiple times. The four- year cohort graduation rate is considered a more comprehensive picture of this issue.

Crime and Violence

  • The number of acts of crime and violence reported among high school students decreased by 6 percent from 6,524 to 6,132 acts in 2010 -11. The rate of acts reported for high school students per 1,000 students in membership also decreased by 10.4 percent.
  • The number of total reportable acts of crime and violence reported among all grades increased slightly (.4%) from 11,608 acts in 2009-10 to 11,757 incidents in 2010-11.
  • Schools are required to report 16 offenses that occur on campus or school property. Of those reported, violent offenses account for 3.2% percent. The most frequently reported acts involved possession of controlled substances, a weapon (excluding firearms and powerful explosives) or alcoholic beverages.

Suspensions and Expulsions

  • Out-of-school suspensions decreased. For short-term suspensions (10 days or fewer) among students in all grades, the total went from 277,206 in 2009-10 to 266,488 in 2010-11. Long-term suspensions (11 days or more) among students in all grades dropped from 3,368 to 2,621.
  • Expulsions declined to 69 from 88 the previous year. High school students received 43 of these expulsions.

In terms of overall trends in the report, in dropouts, crime and violence, and suspensions and expulsions, males reported at higher rates than females. Ninth grade students also were reported in greater numbers in each category.

"This report includes good news about the dropout rate but it also highlights trends that deserve a closer look," said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "Principals and assistant principals maintain student discipline and they need adequate resources and support if they are going to continue to make our schools safe places for teaching and learning."

For the first time and in response to new state legislation, the 2010-11 Consolidated Data Report also included information on the use of corporal punishment. There were 891 uses of corporal punishment reported statewide in 2010-11. Corporal punishment was used at least once by 17 school districts. Charter schools and the remaining 98 school districts did not use corporal punishment.

The full report detailing district-by-district data on all of these measures is available online at www.ncpublicschools.org/research/discipline/reports.

About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 107 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.


For more information:
NCDPI Communications and Information, 919.807.3450.