I read an article in the May 9, 2007 issue of the Christian Science Monitor entitled "Educators, politicians, and MTV take aim at dropout 'epidemic'".
Seems that 3 in 10 American ninth-graders don't graduate with their class. If you look at the African-American population then it's 1 in 2 that don't graduate.
There are two bipartisan bills in Congress that would authorize about $3 billion toward reducing dropout rates.
This is MADNESS.
47% of dropouts reported leaving school because "classes were not interesting".
Spending $3 billion will not make public school classes any more interesting and here's why: public schools are broken. Public schools are increasingly more irrelevant to what's going on in the real world and the students know it.
Did you listen to the audio interview with Dan Pink who authored "A Whole New Mind -- Moving From The Information Age To The Conceptual Age"? Dan will tell you public schools are broken and irrelevant because they focus on Left brain skills when they should be focusing on Right brain skills.
Public schools are, essentially, a monopoly. Unless you're wealthy and can afford sending your child to the school of your choice you are stuck with the public school. There is always the homeschooling option (we do this) but how many families can work that option?
Before we spend $3 billion on a broken system we need to break the monopoly. Allow parents to send their child to the school that is best for their child. And yes, that includes private schools. And don't make test scores a requirement for the school. There is no direct correlation to high test scores and being successful in life.
Listen to award winning teacher John Taylor Gatto talk about his book "The Underground History of American Education. Gatto is the most eloquent person you'll find to talk about what's wrong with American public schools and how to fix them.