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Friday, November 9, 2007

Dropout Crisis

The following was written by Tiara Williamson, a sophomore at Pablo Neruda Academy in the Bronx, who just finished a one-week internship at the Norwood News:

The graduation rate in New York City schools is sadly decreasing as the dropout rate is continuing to get higher. Statistics have shown that one-third (33.3%) of students who enter high school do not graduate. Fifty percent of the dropouts decided to drop out by the tenth grade, twenty percent decided to drop out by eighth grade, and three percent decided to drop out by the fourth grade. Studies have shown that White and Asian students have the highest graduation rates and the lowest drop out rates, 75.5 percent of white students graduate and 73.2 percent of Asian students graduate whereas 52.1 percent of black students graduate and 49.4 percent of Hispanics.

Some of the reasons teens decide to drop out of school are because they got married or pregnant, had drug or alcohol problems, they had trouble going to school and work at the same time, they didn’t like the school that they were in, they didn’t get along with some of the teachers or students, they weren’t getting good grades so they just gave up, or they didn’t feel safe in school.

When people decide to drop out they should really think twice about making that decision because it may seem like all fun and games at the time but in the long run it will not help you out. High school graduates make about two hundred thousand dollars more over a lifetime than high school dropouts and college graduates make about eight hundred thousand more than high school dropouts.


  1. Part of the reason drop out rates are so high has to do with the atmosphere inside schools, like Tiara says students give up or didn’t feel safe in school. I think the environment doesn’t do an adequate job of encouraging students to excel (with schools run like prison systems and students seeing classmates and friends getting pregnant, having drug problems and the other issues Tiara mentions). I didn’t go through the NYC public school system myself, but I talked to some students from Pablo Neruda and Roosevelt HS for an article that came out this week in the Ram, the Fordham University paper. It talks about the same things Tiara does.


  2. While I do agree with some of the ideas presented by Tiara, I think she forgets to mention a very important point. Being a high school student myself, one who has succeeded in the New York City public school system and is currently attending the prestigious Stuyvesant High School, I find that many students are lacking in motivation. Perhaps part of the blame should be placed on parents who did not instill the value of education in their kids and who spend hundreds of dollars buying their children the latest video games, when all they really need is a book. It seems as though many do not realize that public education is a right in this country, but a privilege in many places around the world.

    - Guergana Borissova

    P.S. Tiara mentions that "three percent [of students] decided to drop out by the fourth grade," and I find that statistic completely absurd. How can a fourth grader who has just learned his multiplication tables, be making a rational decision to drop out? If this is the case, then we should be more alarmed with what the parents are doing in cases like this. There is nothing worse than a mind wasted, but unfortunately more and more youth are making the choice to drop out of high school. While our first instinct may be to blame the students or the education system for the shocking statistics, perhaps we should also take a look at their very first teachers -- their parents.


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