Montgomery educators reflect on poor numbers

By Cody Holyoke - bio | email

Montgomery, Al. (WSFA) -- It's an eye opening report from advocacy group Voices for Alabama's Children.

Statistics from the 2008 Alabama's Kids Count report shows local graduation rates hovering around 60%.

Some places, like Montgomery County, are much lower.  The report shows the county has a 45.1% graduation rate.

"There's no doubt that we need to work on our graduation rate," said Tom Salter, spokesman for Montgomery Public Schools.

Guidance counselors tell WSFA 12 News students who relocate within the county may contribute to the problem.

"They get behind, and sometimes the moving in itself makes it difficult for them to keep up," explained Lorrie Piazza, Guidance Director for Jefferson Davis High School.

For behavioral issues, counselors are looking at alternatives to suspensions, which for some kids can seem more like an escape from class.

"If there's a field trip that's coming up, and you have these discipline issues, then you might not be able to attend," said Shanell Petty, JD's Behavior Interventionist.

Either way, school staffers say the low rates don't show the whole picture.

"[The report doesn't] take into account students that we know have transferred to other schools or have gone on to take GEDS or graduated during the summer," Salter said.