MS faces 17% high school dropout rate - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

MS faces 17% high school dropout rate

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Mississippi leaders say we need more than just a "stay in school" slogan to slow down the dropout rate.

"You're looking at a drop out rate of about 17 percent statewide, in some areas it's as much as 35 percent," said Governor Phil Bryant.

Parents and students at Lanier High School participated in a town hall meeting Thursday night. The focus was on reconnecting students, parents and schools.

"Parents are the foundation of education for young people. So home is your first network. That's your first education environment and it has to be and it needs to be a positive environment that reinforces learning inside the home and outside the home. And it gives kids the right attitude when they show up to school," explained Albert Skykes, Policy and Advocacy Director for the Young People's Project.

Students are also taking an active role in the fight against dropouts with high school students forming the "Can I Kick It?" crew. Five students make up the Lanier High School crew.

"It's easier to hear from someone your age that you know to stay in school cause we hear from parents all the time, 'you need to do this, you need to do that'. So I guess, I think it's easier to hear from a peer or a friend or a student. 'Hey I'm doing it, so you do it. So stay in school'," described crew member Kira Rollins.

Governor Phil Bryant has asked the legislature to put $1 million into a program called Jobs for Mississippi Graduates. He says the national association has a 93 percent success rating when they intervene with children who are about to drop out.

"It is the workforce of the future. Dropout prevents us from having the trained educated workforce necessary for aerospace industries, automobile industries that we're bringing in," said Bryant.

Additional town hall meetings on dropout prevention are scheduled for this spring at other JPS schools.

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