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Two N.C. School Systems Will Raise Dropout Age From 16 to 18

Charlotte Observer (NC) (11/25/13) Marusak, Joe

Two school districts in Catawba County, N.C., will raise the dropout age to 18 or have voted to do so in coming years under a state pilot program, joining 20 states and the District of Columbia. North Carolina Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, who supported the legislation authorizing the pilot program, says, "Getting out of high school without a diploma is unacceptable." Students in North Carolina who drop out of school early can lose their driving privileges, and their parents can face court action. Atkinson notes that the state's graduation rate improved from 68 percent in the 2005-06 school year to 82.5 percent last year, and she says the state can reach its goal of 100 percent through a variety of strategies. The pilot program enables the two school systems to use money to hire up to three more teachers; pay for added student-related costs, ranging from transportation to computers; open a night school program for students at risk of dropping out; or partner with Catawba Valley Community College. The school districts must report back to the State General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2016, on how the programs impact graduation rates.
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