LAUSD launches program to rescue dropouts

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. Nearly one in five students across the state fails to graduate from high school, and 26 percent of Los Angeles Unified School District students who start school do not graduate.

The LAUSD kicked off a new program Monday called Student Recovery Day to fight the trend.

Hundreds of district officials, including LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines, manned phone banks and hit the streets to find L.A.'s estimated 10,000 dropouts and convince them to return to class.

LAUSD has lowered its dropout rate in recent years from more than 40 percent to 26 percent, but officials said it's still too high.

"We're going to be going to students' homes, we're going to be phone banking, we're going to be literally going door to door to try and find these students. And we're going to do everything we can to convince them to come back to school," said LAUSD board member Steve Zimmer.

"The most important thing that we want them to know is that we care about them and that we miss them," he said.

A 15-year-old student who did not want to give her name said she dropped out of Fairfax High School a month ago, but on Monday she was back in school. She's hoping to transfer to another school because Fairfax just didn't suit her.

"I just wanted to come back," she said. "I'm happy because I'm actually going somewhere where I actually know I could do something."

Not everyone thought this was a good idea. One teacher at Fairfax High School called the program a photo opportunity that would be lucky to get two or three students to come back. He said offering lower class sizes and more electives would be a better way to go.

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