One in four California students drops out, report says

A new statewide count of high school dropouts, based on the tracking of individual students, shows significantly higher numbers than have been reported for years in California.

The dropout report, released Wednesday by the California Department of Education, estimated that one in four high school students — 24.2 percent — failed to graduate with their classes or move into another educational program to continue their high school education. The estimates were derived from data from the 2006-07 school year.

By contrast, the state claimed a 13.9 percent four-year dropout rate for the prior year.

The difference is due to a more accurate system for keeping track of students, state Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell said. Under the new system, students across California were given a unique identification number that enabled the state to better track their whereabouts in the education system.

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