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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Radio Smart Talk: High school dropouts in PA

Written by Megan Lello, witf Reporter and Producer | Sep 21, 2012 8:08 AM

More than 10,000 Pennsylvania students in grades 7 through 12 dropped out of school during the 2010-2011 academic year. Many of those students are from central Pennsylvania, which posts some of the highest dropout rates in the state. At a time when jobs are hard to come by, teachers, parents, and administrators are trying to prevent Thumbnail image for school-classroom-teacher.jpgvulnerable students from dropping out, but many are falling through the cracks.

On Friday’s Radio Smart Talk, we’ll look at Pennsylvania’s high school droputs, and hear about what’s being done to boost the commonwealth’s high school graduation rate of about 80 percent. The program is part of the American Graduate: Let's Make It Happen public media initiative on witf.

Appearing on the show are Pedro Rivera, superintendent of The School District of Lancaster, and Michael Race, communications director for Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children.

Are you a high school dropout yourself? Do you know of someone who left school? We’d like to hear from you.

Listen to the show:

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  • John img 2012-09-21 08:41

    Are most dropouts children of dropouts? How many dropouts grow up without both biological parents in the home?

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2012-09-21 08:54

    E-mail from Bruce:

    "Two of the five most effective approaches to boost high school graduation rates are high-quality pre-kindergarten programs. In an extensive review of the research by Columbia researcher Henry Levin, the Perry preschool and Chicago-Child Parent programs--two highly researched programs that tracked participants and nonparticipants for more than two decades--boosted graduation rates by 44 and 29 percent respectively. They are effective, particularly for disadvantaged kids, because they put kids on a trajectory to success early on that carries through their schooling years. Kids who start behind early on are much more likely to stay behind and drop out."

  • lfrickey img 2012-11-10 10:37

    I have been a teacher for 28 years and I’ve developed a tool, the Scale of Student Engagement/Disengagement (SOS ED) which empowers students to self-identify their level of school engagement and has proven successful (Research study in conjunction with the University of Wyoming, 2003) when used to identify students at risk of graduating from high school.
    I am looking for school with whom to partnership to increase the high school graduation rate and support your schools in identifying and supporting students at risk of not graduating from high school.

    Please visit my website and check out the video explaining the SOS ED.

    For further questions, please email me at:

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