Invisible Dropouts

By Saeed Villanueva |Staff Writer|

High school graduation rates are on the rise in San Bernardino, but are still below state average.

San Bernardino has suffered from low high school graduation rates for years, but has been on a gradual incline since 2010.

However, the topic of grade school dropouts has been overlooked in favor of college dropouts, which has received much more media attention.

According to the California Department of Education, the graduation rates for San Bernardino County schools in 2015-2016 was 82.6 percent. The dropout rate was 10.4 percent, which correlates to 3,408 students.

For San Bernardino, this is a good sign, considering the rate was as high as 19.1 in 2010.

This shows that the city has been doing a much better job to help children stay in school and graduate.

“It is harder to dropout now with all the programs, resources, and opportunities available to struggling students. The education system isn’t perfect, but I’m confident when I say I know my site does anything and everything they can to help a student graduate,” said Jasmine Luna, a teacher at Public Safety Academy of San Bernardino, and CSUSB alumna.

However, statewide rate last year was 9.8 percent, and Riverside County only had a rate of 6.3.

For the two counties that are very close in proximity, that is a very alarming difference.

There can be a variety of different things that can be leading to this wide disparity.

“I’d say the lack of support from families, but each situation is different. Sometimes the student just doesn’t care enough,” said Luna.

Many of these dropouts become invisible and are never heard from again.

“They usually go to a continuation school and then we don’t hear from them again,” said Luna.

It is easy for a high school dropout to join a gang or get involved in other sorts of criminal activity.

San Bernardino has a history of gang violence and helping children stay in school is one way to combat this problem.

This will prevent them from becoming involved in dangerous, and potentially life-threatening activity.

An estimated 20,000 out of 32,000 high school students in the county are Hispanic.

This makes Hispanic students more vulnerable to becoming lost within institutionalized systems of oppression.

However, the dropout rates that is by far the largest over any other category are students that come from a foster background.

Foster youth children have a 32.1 percent rate of quitting high school; the overall amount of students on foster care isn’t as high but for the ones that come from a background where that rate is very high.

These issues are very concerning but the city is making the necessary steps to fix these problems and continue to make sure the drop out rates decrease.

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