Senate Education Committee Approves Bill to Increase Graduation Rates

OKLAHOMA – The full Senate is the next stop for legislation aimed at increasing high school graduation rates throughout Oklahoma. Senate Bill 2139, by Sen. John Ford, won unanimous approval by the Senate Education Committee on Monday. Ford said a new study by the Alliance for Excellent Education shows how important this issue is to Oklahoma’s economy.

“According to this new report, if the 14,500 dropouts from 2008 alone had earned their diplomas, Oklahoma’s economy would have seen an additional $3.8 billion in wages over those students’ lifetimes,” said Ford, chairman of the Education Committee. “In addition, we would have saved millions on remedial education, health care costs and in corrections.”

Ford, who represents Craig, Nowata and Washington counties, explained SB 2139 would create a formula for schools to set new graduation targets. Those schools would be given two years to meet those goals. Schools unable to meet their graduation goal would receive assistance from the State Department of Education to develop and implement a plan to improve graduation rates.

“Right now we’re losing on the average a fourth of all students who begin high school—the numbers are even higher in some districts,” Ford said. “Ensuring more students graduate will create a better future for them, and a better economy for our entire state.”

Updated 02-09-2010

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