RALEIGH (AP) -- The number of North Carolina high school students who dropped out during the 2006-2007 school year was the highest in seven years. A report given to the State Board of Education on Thursday said 23,550 students dropped out of North Carolina public schools during the last academic year, slightly less than the 23,597 students who dropped out in 1999-2000. The dropout rate in 2006-2007 was 5.24 percent -- the highest in five years. The report said 43 percent of the state's 115 school districts reported a decrease in their dropout rate. Washington, Clay and Camden each reported about a 50 percent decrease. State Board of Education Chairman Howard Lee said the report was troubling. He said the state needs to make sure high school students understand that a high school diploma is the minimum for economic survival. (Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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