Teenagers in Sacramento County drop out of school for a variety of reasons and the large number of students making that choice is alarming local educators. For that reason, the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) is launching an effort designed to curtail the dropout rate and provide teens with information about the educational opportunities available to them.
GO BACK TO SCHOOL is a radio public service campaign involving partnerships between SCOE and local radio stations serving the Sacramento County area. The announcements, available in English and Spanish, contain a resource number ((916) 228-2357) which people can contact for help in determining which local education agency can meet their needs.
"There is a well-documented earnings gap between high school graduates and dropouts," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon. "Many studies have determined the annual difference is nearly $10,000. And those young people with only a high school diploma have difficulty finding stable, well-paying jobs."
Sacramento-area radio stations owned by Bustos Media, CBS Radio, Clear Channel, Entercom and Entravision will periodically broadcast public service announcements designed to encourage young people who have not completed their high school educations to re-enroll in school, earn the credits needed for a high school diploma, and seek career guidance and job training. Announcements also will appear on the "community" section of several of the radio stations' websites.
"We are grateful to the media outlets partnering with us on the GO BACK TO SCHOOL campaign, which we believe will have a positive impact on so many of the young people in Sacramento County who are seeking better opportunities," Superintendent Gordon said.
According to the California Department of Education, the Sacramento County dropout rate is currently a little more than 21%, while the dropout rate in California stands at nearly 19%.
The California Dropout Research Project at the University of California at Santa Barbara determined that California dropouts from the class of 2009 alone could cost state and federal governments nearly $50 billion over the course of their lives in lost wages, social programs, and incarceration and health care costs.
A 2009 study by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University, in Boston, determined in California alone there were 710,838 dropouts, a figure that would rank as the seventeenth most populous city in the United States, larger than Fort Worth, Texas, and Seattle, Washington.
In 2007, nearly 6.2 million students in the United States between the ages of 16 and 24 dropped out of high school. Most of the dropouts were Latino or Black.
SCOE plays a vital role in providing technical assistance, curriculum and instructional support, staff development, fiscal services and oversight to Sacramento County school districts. SCOE operates special education programs for students with severe disabilities, Court and Community Schools for high-risk and at-risk students, and career technical education courses.