WPR News
7:12 am
Tue October 30, 2007

Gas workers affect high school drop out rates

Laramie, WY – The state's superintendent of schools says an influx of people working in the gas fields is making it harder to improve the graduation rate. Jim McBride reacted to a study by Johns Hopkins University that labeled two Wyoming high schools as, quote, dropout factories. One of those is Rawlins High School which is in an area that has seen an increasing number of energy workers. McBride says that has meant an increase in the number of students who are learning English for the first time.

"Two years ago, out in that southeast corner, our English language learners were maybe one percent of the population," McBride says. "There's ten times that many right now."

McBride says that the latest data actually show that the graduation rate is improving at Rawlins High. But he says the school is still near the bottom compared to the rest of the state.