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Legislators can play a role in dropout prevention

January 19, 2013View for printing

This week, the Office of Public Instruction released its annual Graduation and Dropout Report. For the fourth year in a row, graduation rates were up and dropout rates were down. The credit for this improvement belongs to the school leaders, teachers, students, community members and parents who have put in the work at the local level to make a difference in the lives of hundreds of students who may not have made it to graduation without their efforts.

While we can celebrate this success, we also know that 1,841 students dropping out of Montana schools each year is too many. The Montana Legislature can play a significant role in supporting our local and statewide Graduation Matters dropout prevention efforts by supporting two critical pieces of legislation.

Senate Bill 13 seeks to raise the legal dropout age from "age 16" to "age 18 or upon graduation," and Senate Bill 14 would provide state funding to schools for educating 19-year-olds.

Guest column by DENISE JUNEAU

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