Whether students in West Virginia public schools are learning as much as they should is an ongoing concern. But at least they are learning something. Teenagers who drop out of school before graduating are not, after they walk out of the classroom for the last time.
In many ways it is easier for policy makers to deal with finding better ways to educate children than it is to crack the tough nut of dropouts. Again, no matter how good the school, it is of no benefit to dropouts.
A "policy forum" is taking place this week in Charleston to discuss the problem - a severe one in our state, which has a dropout rate of 17 percent.
Dropout rates are calculated in different ways, but clearly, too many West Virginia teenagers who begin school do not stay long enough to earn high school diplomas.
The forum this week, sponsored by the Education Alliance and Generation Charleston, is aimed at providing ideas for legislative action to lower the dropout rate. This is not the first time such an initiative has been launched and, unfortunately, it probably will not be the last. Student retention has proven to be one of the most difficult challenges facing schools.
It is one that needs to be met and overcome, however.
We encourage state Department of Education officials and legislators to consider any recommendations as a result of the forum. Those showing promise in cutting West Virginia's dropout rate should be implemented.