Two East Tennessee Schools Classified as "Dropout Factories"

Knoxville (WVLT) - Two schools in East Tennessee are classified as so-called "dropout factories" according to a new Associated Press study.

Volunteer TV's Jim Freeman explains.

"Dropout factory" refers to a school where no more than 60% of the students who start at freshman make it to their senior year.

Those schools are Midway and Rockwood High Schools in Roane County.

In the data that tracked senior classes for three years, Midway High scored a retention rate of 56%.

Most people we spoke to were shocked and disappointed about the study.

"There's people I know well. Some of the teachers from Midway, they come through here. And one of my good friends is the ex-girls basketball coach down there," said Tony Smith, Owner of Handee Burger.

Rockwood High's retention rate is listed at 59%.

"Rockwood always has good athletic programs. Seems like they have a lot of support from the community. So, I was surprised at that," said Smith.

And, apparently so was the director of Roane County schools, who would not speak with us, but did release a statement.

"The Associated Press article contains statistics that are untrue," wrote Dr. Toni McGriff.

The statement lists the 2006-2007 graduation rates for Midway High School at 80% and Rockwood High's at 75%.

But, the Associated Press story does not look at graduation rates.

It only takes into account the percentage of students who start as freshmen and make it to their senior year.

McGriff adds that Midway has consistently met the Tennessee target scores for graduation rates and that Rockwood has historically met the target.

In addition, the only major metropolitan county without a high school on the list was Knox County.


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  • by no Location: SOR on Nov 15, 2007 at 01:56 AM
    I think that the statistics should be reviewed. Just because you go to a school your freshman year, and you dont graduate with that class, doesnt mean you're a dropout. There have been students that just move to other schools. I dont think that the schools should be considered a "dropout factory" just because you happen to be a fresman with a small class and u graduate with a small class. Why cant the schools ever be recognized for the good things they do, not what some statistic says?
  • by Gail Location: Knoxville on Nov 1, 2007 at 12:49 AM
    Dropouts are usually kids with low self esteem. Yes, the culture of a school can cause some kids to feel left out--but the family is responsible for ensuring that their children feel their own self worth. The breakdown of society and esp family is reflected in the children and their feelings of worth or lack thereof. Where are the churches in this picture? How about civic organizations? The schools cannot be held solely responsible for students failing to graduate. Wake up Tennessee!
  • by tired of wasted tax dollars Location: Walland, TN on Oct 31, 2007 at 05:41 AM
    Duh.... Anybody ever get the idea to have teenagers graduate at 16? Most teenagers have "better things" to do. Works overseas. After 16, ALL education (including college) should be free if the student maintains grade of 93. Less than 93 you pay so much, less than 85 you pay more, and so on.. Since we are paying via tax breaks for daycare, make it offical classtime and let the young willing information sponges learn-learn-learn.
  • by Larry on Oct 31, 2007 at 05:15 AM
    Yeap its all the schools fault, Parents have nothing to do with their kids staying in school. If those darn schools would start locking them in on Monday and not letting them out Friday they might be able to get more graduated. Or I know, maybe the parent should take a bit of responsability??? *Gasp*
  • by abc Location: kingston on Oct 30, 2007 at 10:08 PM
    Midway dosen't suprise me I went there in the early 70's and I don't think it has changed much.You spoke of sports in your report,that's there bigest problum.If you don't play some type of sports there you dont count.

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