Burrage Says Program Will Help Curb Oklahoma High School Dropout Rates
A bill that would match at-risk Oklahoma high school students with community mentors, unanimously passed on the Oklahoma State Senate floor by a 47-0 vote today.
Authored by State Senator Sean Burrage, the bill creates a graduation coach model within the Oklahoma State Department of Education that will help students stay on track academically, while setting up an a mentor system to help guide students through with out-of-classroom obstacles that could hinder graduation.
Governor Brad Henry initially proposed the idea during the annual State of the State Address in February. Burrage, a Democrat from Claremore, said the program can dramatically curb Oklahoma dropout rates and pointed to the success in Georgia where a similar coaching program is thriving and has been expanded due to its success.
“School enrollment numbers are going up but their dropout rate is drastically declining in Georgia. Our dropout rate in Oklahoma ranks 33rd in the nation and we had over 5,500 Oklahoma students dropout of high school last year. We have a responsibility to provide every Oklahoma child, including our most vulnerable students, an opportunity to succeed and I believe this program is a new and resourceful way to help our students stay on track in school and learn valuable life skills,” Burrage said.
He said Oklahoma students will be less likely to fall through the cracks of the public school system with the graduation coach program.
“I hope we build a program that will help Oklahoma and its young people succeed,” Burrage said. “Providing Oklahoma students greater opportunity today will allow them to achieve greater heights tomorrow.”