The high school dropout rate is being called a “catastrophe” by former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The non-partisan group “American’s Promise Alliance” released a new report this week showing among other things, in 17 of our nation’s 50 largest cities, more than 50% of students will quit before graduating. More than one million students drop out each year. The Bush administration is now reexamining “No Child Left Behind.”
ABC News report:
25% graduate from high school in Detroit
30% graduated in Indianapolis
34% graduated in Cleveland
The alliance also introduced a series of high-level Dropout Prevention Campaign summits to reverse the trend. One Senator said, "If this was a health disease we would define it as an epidemic as quickly as we could." The group’s findings also illustrate a dramatic disparity in the educational tracks of students attending public schools in urban versus suburban neighborhoods. Philadelphia’s mayor said, “When you look at the financial resources we spend about half to educate children in the city of Philadelphia than our counterparts in the suburbs around us spend - you can't educate kids on the cheap."
Nationally, about 70 percent of U.S. students graduate on time. Many critics believe states currently under report their true drop out rates. The Education Secretary announced a change in the way the federal government will collect graduation data.