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Superintendent says East Lawrence shouldn’t be listed as ‘dropout factory’

By Nancy Glasscock · 340-2443

MOULTON — An analysis of Education Department data that includes East Lawrence High School in a list of 42 Alabama schools with graduation rates of 60 percent or less is incorrect, at least in part, Lawrence County Superintendent Dexter Rutherford said Tuesday.

According to The Associated Press, the analysis, conducted by Johns Hopkins University, reveals about 1,700 or 12 percent of regular or vocational high schools nationwide graduate no more than 60 percent of freshman classes.

Johns Hopkins researcher Bob Balfanz defined these schools as “dropout factories,” according to the AP.

Rutherford, however, said the study was apparently based on out-of-date information.

“A couple of years ago, East Lawrence was on the state caution list, but through extensive diligence on the part of the faculty of everybody, we’ve made great strides,” he said.

This year, East Lawrence is one of five Lawrence County Schools that have a graduation rate of more than 90 percent, according to the state Department of Education. East Lawrence had a dropout rate of more than 24 percent in 2003.

In 2006, East Lawrence had a graduation rate of 83 percent.

A school’s graduation rate is based on a formula that projects the percentage of students who will graduate within a four-year period.

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