The other day, I met someone who grew up close to where I teach. He couldn’t place my school, so he asked where my kids go on to high school. When I told him, he just started laughing and laughing and couldn’t stop. “Those poor kids,” he said. “That high school is awful.”
This came a day after a couple of my kids from last year spent hours in my room after school chatting with me. They told me that their teacher doesn’t want to invest too much energy in them, because she constantly tells them that only 300 out of 500 kids graduate every year anyway. These kids are great and were talking about defying expectations and graduating… which is depressing, since I’d rather staying in high school wasn’t something that would shock their teachers.
The moral of the story is that I am sending my kids to a dropout factory. Literally. Arizona is actually 12th in the nation for highest percentage of dropout factories, with about 17% of schools graduating fewer than 60% of their students. (See more data for all states here.) We’ve poured heart and soul into them and now they’re going to have to swim upstream just for a high school degree. What a disaster.
Here’s a nice depressing video about it from Waiting For Superman: