Students drop out of school for many reasons, a panel of high-school students said, but the community can help them stay in school.
At a reception recognizing Jackson and other cities around the country as Grad Nation Communities, a panel of three high school students discussed the reasons students drop out and what the community can do to lower Mississippi's dropout rate.
Chrystal Norwood, a senior at Murrah High School, said there is a lack of support from some parents, teachers and community members to keep students in school.
"Some teachers are just there to get their paycheck," she said.
Adrianna Parker, a senior at Lanier High School, said she thinks most of the reasons students drop out of school are not the teachers' fault. A lack of interest in the subjects and the fact that some students do not make education a priority also play a role, she said.
"At my school, we have interesting subjects, but we aren't able to hear about them because the teacher is teaching from the test," Parker said.
Alonte Davis Anderson, a student at Wingfield High School, said he does not feel the teachers focus too much on drilling for tests at his school, but peer pressure, problems at home and undiagnosed learning disabilities factor into why some students drop out.
Anderson said the community can help keep students from dropping out by calling the school when they suspect a student is skipping class. He also said middle school and high school students need after-school programs to encourage them to finish school, since the number of after-school programs available tapers off after students turn 13.
The reception was the last in a series of events for community leaders from Jackson and other cities involved in reducing the dropout rate.
America's Promise Alliance, an organization former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell founded, recently named Jackson one of its Grad Nation Communities and one of the 100 Best Communities for Young People in 2011. The award recognizes the work of organizations in Jackson to improve high school graduation rates, as well as other factors, to make the area a better place for young people.
Read about one of the reasons graduation rates are important in the JFP's coverage of the dropout-crime connection.