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Dropouts and truants cost themselves jobs

Nippon Thermostat announced recently it will double the size of its plant in Fraziers Bottom in Putnam County. This could add 30 jobs in a state where the top employer is Wal-Mart.

But as Kate White reported recently in the Sunday Gazette-Mail, the company has a problem. Only one in 10 job applicants can correctly answer a simple math question on the pre-employment exam.

The state's employers complain they can't find

people with good math, science and engineering skills.

Schools can't be blamed for this. The reality is that today's students are not doing their jobs.

Statewide, one in five students  had five or more

unexcused absences in the last school year. Almost half of those had 10 or more days of truancy.

"Attendance is something that is so critical to overall performance and success in education," said Jorea Marple, state superintendent of schools.

"Parents really need to step up and make sure that their kids are here and in class."

The state Supreme Court initiated programs designed to bring schools, social workers and law enforcement together to combat this problem. Taylor Circuit Judge Alan Moats has been deeply involved with the effort.

As the Daily Mail's Zack Harold reported, Moats

recently told legislators that 22 of 24 students who dropped out of school in Barbour County had at least one parent who was a high school dropout.

"Dropouts beget more dropouts who beget more dropouts and the cycle just goes on and on," he told a legislative committee.

Skipping school also results in poor job skills. Shizue York, a spokeswoman for Nippon Thermostat, said her company gives people a 90-day tryout before hiring them permanently.

"Some people can't survive three months," York said.

This is maddening. Taxpayers pony up more than $10,000 a year per student. Politicians move heaven and Earth to get companies to invest here.

Parents have to get their children to school.

Good jobs are available at home, in West Virginia - but only for kids who take advantage of school.


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