School dropouts hurt the country and themselves

A national study of high school dropout rates showed dramatic improvement in some cities, including Kansas City, and equally disappointing numbers in others. Wichita’s rate, for example, increased by 17.6 percent from 1995 to 2005, while the rate in Kansas City decreased by a whopping 19.7 percent over the same period.
Nationwide, however, the picture remains dismal. More than one in four kids drops out before graduation. Which means that more than 25 percent of the U.S. population in the 20-30 age bracket has difficulty getting and holding a decent job. The dropout coterie is the only segment of the work force for whom income levels shrank over the past 30 years, the report said.
The report was created by the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center. It included a table showing the high school graduation rate in the 50 largest cities in the U.S. and the percent increase or decrease over the decade studied.
The top 10 were: Mesa, Ariz. 76.60, 12; San Jose 73.3, 1.8; Tucson 71.6, 22.7; Seattle 68.9, 0.7; Colorado Springs 68.8, 4.6; Portland 68.6, 13.1; Virginia Beach, Va. 68.5, 8.8; Honolulu 67.4, 3.6 and Long Beach 64, 3.7
The bottom 10: Nash-ville 45.2, 3.1; Columbus, Ohio 44.7, 12.6; Las Vegas 44.5, 23.1; Los Angeles 44.4, 3.6; Atlanta 43.5, 10.8; Baltimore 41.5, 7.7; Milwaukee 41, 5.2; De-troit 37.5, 6.9; Cleveland 34.4, 4.9; Indianapolis 30.5, 5.3.
President Barack Obama has said he wants to fix the high school drop-out problem, which was one of the reasons he appointed Arne Duncan to be education secretary. Duncan had run the schools of Chicago for the past seven years. The graduation rate in-creased 9 percent under his administration.
Duncan tackled the problem with ninth grade academies to help struggling students succeed and also created smaller high schools to make individual attention to students easier to achieve.
“As the president said, every young person who drops out of high school is not only quitting on himself but is also quitting on his country,” Duncan said in a statement.

PARENTS AND students alike should be helped to understand this thought, which is offered not to reprimand but to encourage youngsters and their parents to train themselves to succeed for the benefit of the entire community as well as their own future well-being.
Dedication to country is taught by Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, 4-H, the Future Farmers of America, the Jewish and Moslem faiths and every Christian denomination. Those teachings include the supreme importance of self-preparation and stress the value of self-discipline, the learning of skills and gaining a broad education.
Probably no correlation has been made that would show how many students who had been active in these organizations and religious institutions dropped out of high school before graduation.
My hopeful guess is that most Scouts, FFAers and 4-H clubbers graduate with flying colors and go on to college.
Believing this, I also believe that the thought behind No Child Left Behind is a valid one and that society can, and most certainly should, keep on trying until it discovers the formula for lifting those who can be lifted. The graduation rate should be 90 percent, or higher.
For the country’s sake.

— Emerson Lynn, jr.