By Alexis Howell
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter
The Lansing School District does not have a perfect record when it comes to graduation attendance.
According to Michigan school data, in the 2013-14 school year, Lansing School District had a 24.81 percent dropout rate for students in their first four years of high school, which is well above the state average of 9.61 percent. During the 2011-12 school year, the dropout rate peaked at 28.84 percent.
Although Lansing has improved since the 2011-12 school year, the district ultimately went back to around where it was in the 2009-10 school year, which was 25.47 percent.
In the 2013-14 school year, Eastern High School had a 21.15 percent dropout rate; Everett High School had a 18.02 percent dropout rate; J. W. Sexton High School had a 18.92 precent dropout rate; and Woodcreek Achievement Center had a 21.74 percent dropout rate.
The district superintendent’s office said the superintendent was not available for comment.
Josae Alleyne, a junior at Eastern High School, said students are dropping out for a lot of reasons. Some students are getting pregnant, while others don’t have the motivation from their parents to go to school.
“Sometimes students drop out and go to a career center which is like a credit school where they can graduate early. In my opinion it’s a downgrade of a diploma. I honestly think if parents were more motivating to their children, they would be more determined to finish school,” said Alleyne.
Dr. Millicent Borishade, school improvement officer of Kent School District in Washington state and an education expert said that she does not think students first option is to drop out.
“All students want to be in school, whether its for social reasons, or for academic reasons, however, some times there are things that get in the way of that,” said Borishade.
Borishade said that some students get overwhelmed because of learning gaps or because of responsibilities they may have at home. Another reason she said they may drop out is because they are tired of failing and then they become a victim of their circumstance.
The assistant principal of Everett High School, Marcelle Carruthers, said the school has a lot of services that are geared towards students that are struggling.
“We have Saturday school, tutoring, and a computer-based class called apex learning,” said Carruthers.
Taylor DeBerry, a graduate of Everett High School said she does not personally know anybody who has dropped out of high school, however she thinks there are contributing factors as to why people may drop out.
DeBerry said, “As a teenager you can get wrapped up in so many things. Maybe they don’t have a stable home base, they’re doing drugs, or just don’t have anyone at home to encourage them.”
Natasha Turner, current parent of a 10th-grader at Everett High School said she believes that the school should offer more programs for the students to be a part of, but she also believes that their home lives makes a huge difference on how they do in school.
The student assistant provider at Woodcreek Achievement Center, Katreva Bisbee, said that Woodcreek is a place where students go to catch up.
“Students come here if they have family issues, or they may even be pregnant. At Woodcreek they have they opportunity to accumulate some of the credits they need to graduate high school. Once they complete their credits, it transfers back to the original school they came from,” Bisbee said.
Zierra Johnson, a former student at Eastern High School, said because of her pregnancy she now goes to Woordcreek Achievement Center and does her school work from home. She said the school provided her with a laptop to complete assignments given to her. Although she is pregnant, she said she will still be graduating on time.
Patricia Edwards, a professor of teacher education and literacy at Michigan State University and a literacy expert, said that most students start struggling in third grade, and they have a hard time catching up.
“Once they get to high school parents do not know how to help their children because of the subjects that they are learning. Parents are usually only involved in extracurricular activities and not their child’s academics,” said Edwards.
Edwards said that working can also hinder students studying. She believes that students should only be allowed to work on the weekend because if the student is already marginal, they need to be able to focus on studying. Home life can also hinder a student.”
“Having certain responsibilities at home, like having to baby sit their siblings can hinder their learning because these are things adults should be doing not children in high school,” Edwards said.
Maya Syndor, a Lansing resident, said although she does not personally know anybody that dropped out, she believes that they can be several reasons.
Syndor said, “Some people may not be determined enough to finish, there may be socioeconomic circumstances, they may be bullied at school, and school may get too difficult so they don’t want to finish.”
Although some people do not finish high school, there are other options for them. The General Education Development exam is an exam that covers basic skills that students learn about it high school. You can find more information on the GED website.