Homecoming, homework and hall passes--the annual ritual called high school is well under way.
For most San Fernando Valley teen-agers, that means another autumn of savoring their fleeting adolescence while slowly advancing toward adulthood. The next stop: Graduation.
But not for everybody. Once again, thousands of students have dropped out of high school. In 1989-90, 5,000 out of 38,000 Valley students--or 14%--quit school. Districtwide, the rate was 16%.
The Valley is no aberration; throughout the Los Angeles Unified School District, the dropout problem is a priority concern.
The district devotes 100 people and $7.5 million annually to combat this problem. But it's not enough.
"We have to get started earlier," said Barry Mostovoy, a district administrator who works on dropout prevention programs, of which there are about half a dozen. "We need more counselors in schools to talk to students. We need them in elementary schools."