High School Dropouts: A National Crisis?

June 22, 2006

Despite all the national talk centered on education and “No Child Left Behind,” students in a handful of big city high schools now have less than a 50 percent chance of graduating, according to an article in USA Today.

The schools with less than a 50 percent graduation rate are in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Miami, Dallas, Denver and Houston. It’s less than 40 percent in New York City, Baltimore and Detroit.

In similar news, the Senate just killed a Democratic proposal to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7.25 an hour by January 1, 2009, according to a blurb in Salon.

This is all, of course, scary news. How the hell do dropouts live? How will we remain the beacon of intellect and innovation if our kids don’t even have a high school diploma?

The national average didn’t appear much higher either: 70 percent, which, by the way, hasn’t changed from previous years. Still, I was surprised to hear that, on average, 30 percent of our kids don’t graduate from high school. In the long run, this can’t bode well for our country.

USA Today, by the way, includes a table with the school districts touting the lowest graduation rates.