Requires all public schools to use the early warning indicator index system, or any successor data collection and tracking system; identifies and tracks students at risk of not graduating on time; requires school districts seeking to use other data collection and tracking systems not provided by the department to apply for a waiver; conducts a workshop for parents and teachers on effective strategies for involving parents in the education of their child and parental involvement in the education of at risk students; regulates the suspension and expulsion of students, as described herein, who are not charged with a felony; attempts to prevent dropout rate.
Despite several decades of efforts to reduce dropout rates in Massachusetts, the percent of student leaving public school each year prior to earning a high school diploma continues to be persistent. Massachusetts dropout rates are disproportionately high among Hispanic and Black or African-American students, students from low-income families, limited English proficient students, and special education students.
As Senator Chang-Diaz said in her press release: Each year, about 8,000 Massachusetts high school students drop out of school, with far-reaching consequences for the entire state. The average high school dropout in Massachusetts will impose a net fiscal burden of nearly $118,124 on state and federal taxpayers, whereas the average high school graduate will contribute $319,043 over the course of his or her lifetime—a gap of $437,167. Dropouts also make up 70 percent of the state’s jail and prison populations, at an average annual cost of about $46,000 per person. Conversely, Massachusetts employers currently have 120,000positions that remain unfilled due to a lack of skilled workers.
More information on dropout prevention can be found here.
Current Status Last session this bill was reported favorably out of the Education Committee but languished in Senate Ways and Means because of cost concerns. Hearing scheduled for October3, 2013 at 10:00 AM in Gardner Auditorium.