Most MCPS Student Dropouts Over Past Years Were Latino

About three-fifths of Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) students who dropped out over the last three years were Latino. 2,151 students have dropped out, and 1,335 were Latino.

Minority students and students who don’t speak English as a first language are more likely to drop out of school. In the 2017-18 school year, about half of the students who dropped out did not speak English as a first language. 

In the same year, 53% of students who dropped out only started with MCPS in high school, and cited “lack of interest” as to why they dropped out.

The data were first reported by the website, Bethesda Beat

A study conducted in March found that for the Class of 2017, Latino students had the lowest graduation rate of any racial group. 

In a student attendance and engagement study released in July, Superintendent Jack Smith said that one obstacle to student engagement in MCPS is lack of attention to “the disproportionate numbers of Black or African American and Hispanic/Latino student dropouts.” 

A statement from the Learning Policy Institute found that students of color are more likely to graduate high school when they learn from teachers of color.

At-large member of the Montgomery County Board of Education Karla Silvestre emphasized a need for more Hispanic teachers in MCPS.

“Hispanic teacher population has gone up consistently every year for the past five years. But, it is a challenge, definitely, because we also have immersion schools that need bilingual teachers, we now have 4-5 dual language programs, in addition to all the teachers that we need for our foreign languages,” Silvestre said in an interview with MCM.

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Maryam Shahzad

About Maryam Shahzad

Maryam is a reporter with Montgomery Community Media. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism. Previously, she was an intern with MCM. She can be reached at or on Twitter @maryam_mcm.


One Response to “Most MCPS Student Dropouts Over Past Years Were Latino”

  1. Avatar
    On September 20, 2019 at 1:00 pm responded with... #

    The focus on race and ethnicity is misleading and obscures the truth behind the dropout rates. In MCPS, the high school dropout rates in all racial groups is less than 5% (the lowest value that can be reported). The number one predictor of dropping out of a MCPS high school is the ability to speak English proficiently when starting high school as a freshman. MCPS data show the dropout rate among those with limited English proficiency is 36%. Across MCPS high schools, the proportion of ESOL students predicts 82% of the variability in dropout rates. Perhaps, in this highly diverse and well funded school system, which has a very fair (need we say equitable?) system of distributing funding to schools, we might focus on the best way to educate large numbers of non-english speakers.

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