Letters to the Editor

Dealing with dropouts

I agree with The Bee's editorial [Sept. 24] calling for enactment of SB 219 to curb the high school dropout crisis in California.

Keeping better track of dropouts is the first step toward getting kids back on track to become high school graduates. Graduating from high school improves kids' chances in life and our hopes of living in safer communities.

New research from the California Dropout Research Project shows that dropouts are more likely to end up in jail or go on welfare, earn less and pay fewer taxes. For the 120,000 dropouts in each class, California suffers more than $45 billion in economic losses, including $12 billion in public safety costs alone.

That's why our officers work closely with the schools through the Mayor's Gang Prevention Initiative. They help secure tutoring for truants and provide high-risk students with activities like boxing and martial arts to keep kids engaged, in school and off the street.

Enacting SB 219 is one way for the state to do its part by requiring schools to report and be held accountable for, dropout rates. This will reward schools succeeding in the difficult challenge of engaging struggling students and identify what works to get them through to graduation.

Jerry P. Dyer

Fresno Chief of Police