An Empty School Desk for Every Student Who Drops Out

 

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Hundreds of empty school desks crowded the National Mall Wednesday as part of an awareness campaign that estimates 857 students drop out of high school every hour of a school day.

College Board, the not-for-profit education services organization, used the installation to send a message to make education reform a priority this election year. The “Don’t Forget Ed” campaign comes at a time when presidential hopefuls have largely focused on the economy and, most recently, immigration.

While graduation rates are improving overall, significant hurdles remain. Many states are adopting new policies to better keep students in school, but certain states such as Nevada, where unemployment rates are high, are struggling to keep up with the positive trend.

Track graduation trends through the years with this interactive map: Interactive by Justin Myers

Our American Graduate team continues to report on the dropout crisis, finding that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the problem. Below are some of our recent reports:

  • Hoping to Change Odds, Las Vegas Gambles on Once-Failing School: In Las Vegas, where a perfect storm of high unemployment rates and the collapse of the housing bubble gave fodder to a stale local economy, one high school turned things around when a passionate principal goes door-to-door to make sure every student makes it to class.

  • Florida Journalism Program Gives Students Reason to Stay in School: In St. Petersburg, Fla., bad neighborhood environments spill into the classroom, where in one year alone one middle school had over 100 arrests. We followed how a journalism program gives students a reason to tell their side of the story, and stay in school.

  • Engaging Students With Learning Differences Early On: Studies show that students with learning disabilities drop out at more than twice the rate of their classmates. Henderson Elementary School in Massachusetts uses technology and inclusive instruction to engage students with learning disability early.

  • One Man’s Journey From Gang Member to Academia: Victor Rios says he has lived two lifetimes. In his first, he was a gang member, juvenile delinquent and high school dropout. Today, he’s a sociology professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who studies at-risk youth.

  • Helping High School Youth Learn by Doing: Since 1994, YouthBuild has trained 110,000 high school dropouts around the country to put up houses for their community and think critically in the classroom while earning their GEDs or diplomas. Paul Solman reports on a program designed to keep kids learning inside and outside of class.

  • Additional reports on the dropout crisis

Do you have a dropout story? Email it to amgrad2012@gmail.com.

American Graduate is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting to help local communities across America find solutions to address the dropout crisis.

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