‘Why I Go to School’: An Antidote For Dropping Out

BY Kelly Chen  February 22, 2012 at 2:46 PM EST

Every year, more than 1.3 million students drop out of high school. That’s 7,000 students a day dropping out for many reasons, most of which are largely personal and reflective of a student’s circumstances at home, school and in the community.

While there is no single reason why students drop out, research shows that barriers to graduation range from classes being too boring to hanging out with the wrong crowd.



Source: 2006 Civic Enterprises, The Silent Epidemic

But what about those who are in school – why do they get up early every morning and persist in their education?

In our new project, we are asking students to choose an image that illustrates their motivations to stay in school. We’ll “pin” them up on our Pinterest board “Why I Go to School.” Teachers can get their students involved by using this NewsHour Extra lesson plan.

We found that students’ decisions to stay in school are also largely personal. In many cases, the same reasons that led to disengagement are also reasons that empower students to excel. They shared with us something deeply personal. Here are a few responses:






It’s easy to participate:

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Make sure your picture falls within fair use rules if it is not your own. Wikimedia Commons and Flickr Creative Commons are good places to start.
  • More on Pinterest’s terms of use here.
  • Help us spread the word by telling your family and friends.

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.