RALEIGH (AP) -- A panel of state lawmakers heard today from community groups and educators who hope to cut the number of North Carolina students who drop out of school before graduation.
The meeting is the first of two planned by House members to hear more ideas about ways to reduce the state's high dropout rate. It comes two months after the state Board of Education said only 68 percent of ninth-graders earn a high school diploma within four years.
Speakers today included state education officials and representatives from activist groups that work with students at risk of leaving school. Many suggested that one-on-one mentoring of troubled young people gives a significant boost to retention efforts.
Others urged lawmakers to pass legislation that would raise the age through which teens are required to attend school. Others called for better data on how to identify at-risk students, and for more involvement by local groups in programs to help those students.