For every four students who enters the ninth grade in Mississippi, one of them will not graduate from high school. Another way to say it, 25 percent of our teenagers are dropping out of high school.
This is an alarming rate. In fact, Mississippi ranks 47th in the rate of high school dropouts. However, today in Jackson, a group of educators, students, community and church leaders from across the state are meeting on ways to dramatically improve Mississippi's dropout crisis.
The goal of the On The Bus program is to inspire community members to action, and to build plans to be initiated in all school districts across our state. The ultimate goal is to reduce the state dropout by 50 percent in the next five to seven years.
This is not just a school issue, but a community one. All of us must find a way to become engaged in helping to solve this crippling problem.
In this day and age, all teenagers need to graduate from high school. Those who don't usually wind up with minimum wage jobs that affect them the rest of their lives. Today's meeting is needed. As we all know, something has to be done in Mississippi if we are going to improve the economic outlook of our citizens and their quality of life.
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