Rep. Flores: Oregon Dropout Rate Prompts Legislative Changes

(Salem) The newest figures on Oregon’s high school dropout rate showed a slight decrease, however, State Representative Linda Flores (R-Clackamas) believes, “there is plenty of room for improvement and we need to keep up the pressure to help our students succeed.” Flores has introduced two key pieces of legislation designed to increase the number of students getting a diploma. According to the Oregon Department of Education the dropout rate for the 2005-06 school year was 4.1%. Total number of students dropping out was nearly 7,400.

House Bill 3141 tracks a student’s progress to determine if they’re reaching a required number of credit hours before they move on to the next grade level. House Bill 3142 holds students, parents, and administrators more accountable if a student drops out of school. Both measures are modeled after a successful program in Indiana.

Under HB 3141 school districts are required to report to the state if a student is falling behind and students at risk of dropping out will get assistance. There is also a provision allowing parents to opt their children out of college prep or vocational courses after signing an acknowledgement of the potential negative outcomes.

“The responsibility falls more on students and parents under this model,” explained Flores, who was Chair of the House Education Committee for the past few years. “If a student does decide to drop out, they not only have to answer to their family, but also to themselves.” HB 3142 sets up a process where the school districts will give students information about what could happen if they drop out. The student and parent must then sign a form showing they understand the consequences. The legislation also increases the likelihood a dropout would lose their drivers license as one of the most immediate repercussions.

A recent national study showed if students who dropped out of the class of 2006 had graduated, they would have generated $309 billion dollars in income over their lifetimes. Flores pointed out, “there are some great programs in Oregon’s schools for dropout recovery and getting kids at risk back on track. We should encourage local schools to invest in these programs on the front end, or the costs will only increase on the back end in our criminal justice and welfare systems.”

While Flores was encouraged to see the percent of students dropping out is declining she is somewhat concerned that we are not giving parents the whole picture. Many states are now calculating the number of dropouts by comparing the number of incoming freshmen to the number of seniors graduating four years later. ODE plans to make changes to get a better perspective on how Oregon measures up to other states.


  • believeitornot

    Every HS already counts credits earned by students and notifies the parents. Check out the number of 5th year seniors as well as the drop out rate. Socio-economic factors are the most relaiable predictor of drop-out rates. Most, certainly not all, drop outs qualify for free and reduced lunch. Replication of a program in Indiana appears not to be needed.

  • That may be true

    But, it’s past time for parents to be accountable for their children and the children to be accountable for themselves. For too long everybody under the sun but the parents and the children are asked to be responsible for them. Sorry, I have enough problem being responsible for mysself


    Florida cut it’s drop out rate in half by making school attendance mandatory for anyone under 18 to get a drivers license. It’s easy, cheap and effective.

  • Jerry

    Crawdude – that would solve the problem! Florida is on to something.
    Driving is a privilege, not a right.

  • HB 3112-English Immersion would make a big impact also as the Students would be in a REGULAR class room sooner. Also those hundreds of Millions wasted on Bi-Lingual could be used to hire Teachers and reduce Class size.

    WE NEED IMMERSION for Foreign Students, it will help lower the drop out rates and help ALL Students, Teachers & Parents.

  • Captain_Anon

    I like Crawdudes idea. One question i have is how much would this mandate cost school districts and the state? obviously there will be time and resources necessary to track students, and that’s not free. is this another unfunded mandate by the state?

    This part concerns me: *” House Bill 3142 holds students, parents, and administrators more accountable if a student drops out of school.”* – Why should administrators be held responsible for the actions of someone else, who by thier OWN choosing, drop out? as someone already said, socio econimic factors play a HUGE roll in drop out rates, as do the roll of parents. Honestly, it’s not the administrators problem. its the kids and parents.

    • eagle eye

      You are right. Look at the perverse incentives: good principals will stay away from schools with bad students. Principals will hesitate to discipline unruly students for fear they will drop out and make them look bad. Principals will fear to have high academic standards. What a disaster!


    I don’t think it would be very hard at all, once a kid applied for a license a quick call from the DMV clerk to an admin. secretary at the school the kid said he/she was enrolled at would answer the question rather easily. Both those jobs are already filled so other than a very small amount of extra work and maybe a school phone directory the cost would be nominal.

    Also for a very low cost a form that the school fills out and sends with the kid to the DMV could be implemented easily. I think this program would be much more cost effective than any of the current big budget programs that don’t seem to be working very well.

  • Capt.

    It is not difficult to report this, as Crawdude pointed out, nor would it cost much.
    It seems to me that we already have the opposite problem – a funded program with very poor results.

  • Caper

    We can’t kick out teh kids that deserve it, and we can’t keep the kids from dropping out that need to stay. What a backward system.

    Flores, keep up the good work.