Education in America

I was looking at this today, http://hosted.ap.org/specials/interactives/wdc/dropout/index.html?SITE=AP (interactive map of the "dropout factories.")

At my last job I regularly went into the schools to talk about education, jobs in IT, and how they connect. I really enjoyed doing that. Sometimes it was frustrating, but sometimes a kid would light up with the idea that, yeah, you can make something of yourself.

Somewhere along the way I read that for many kids who don't achieve, no one has ever asked them to. So, as hokey as it may seem, I always asked each and every student, "what is one goal or dream you have for yourself?"

Sometimes the answers would be, "I want to be an astronaut." Sometimes the answers would be, "I want to make it to lunch today." The kids who didn't have an answer for me, or whose answer was, "I want to work full-time at a " made me sad.

I looked up the schools I was speaking at on the map... they range from 52-60% graduation rate. So the kids I was talking to? 40% weren't going to graduate, if I was speaking to freshmen.


Then I looked up the school I was supposed to go to growing up (my family got financial aid to send me to a private school.) Even better, a whopping 41% graduation rate. I remember at the time being appalled because I knew kids who went there, and they didn't actually read any books (this was before all the testing), and that the building had no windows. Now I'm super glad I didn't go there...

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