WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Board to Use Drop-Out Survey Results

Nov 19, 2013

An organization that focuses on workforce development in southeast Iowa says it has a better idea of why local students drop out of school.

The Regional Workforce Investment Board (RWIB) also says it is ready to put that knowledge to work.

The board works directly with Iowa Workforce Development.  Its members are representatives of local governments, industries, education and labor.

Chairwoman Janet Fife-LaFrenz says building the workforce is critical because of the need to replace retiring baby-boomers.

She says that becomes more difficult as drop-out rates increase.

Fife-LaFrenz says that is why the RWIB commissioned a survey on the subject.

She says the firm in charge of the project met with individuals who have dropped out of a Des Moines County high school (Burlington, West Burlington, Mediapolis, Danville) and are looking for work or job training.

They talked about why the student dropped out and what factors played into the decision.

Fife-LaFrenz says the survey revealed several key factors: 1) failing grades, 2) teachers, 3) administrators.

She says the students said teachers and administrators made them feel different and unappreciated because of their family, their socioeconomic background, or their lack of participation in athletics.

Fife-LaFrenz says this information will be presented to the school districts throughout southeast Iowa to start talks on how to prevent future drop-outs.

She says even though the survey focused on Des Moines County, it applies to Lee, Henry and Louisa Counties as well.

You can read a copy of the survey results here.