Tuesday, April 1, 2008

On notice: Graduation rates

Everyone knows that education in this country is in trouble, and according to a report released this week by America's Promise Alliance, the situation is far more dire than I'd imagined.

The report, Cities in Crisis, reveals that more than three out of ten American high-school students don't graduate.

As disturbing as that is, the news gets worse from there.

In urban districts, the graduation rate is just 60.4%. Columbus, Ohio's schools graduate only four out of ten. Graduation rates in Baltimore and Cleveland are a shade over 34%, while Indianapolis comes in at 30.5%. In Detroit, it's an appalling 25%.

You read that right -- only one out of every four Detroit students graduates from high school.

For a moment, try to wrap your brain around the fact that fully 75% of that city's 18-year-olds enter society without a high-school education. Nationally, 40% of the city kids you meet are -- or will be -- high-school dropouts.

I don't care to join the hand-wringing over the reasons why this is so, nor am I interested in discussing solutions. Explanations, however plausible, are pointless; proposals, however laudable, are futile.

To put a fine point on my pessimism, I believe that our nation is looking at a future dominated by handout-hungry Americans. Right now these parasites have us pinned down; soon, I predict, we'll be overrun.

I have no confidence in our ability to deny entitlements to the undeserving. I don't believe that we have the national will to overhaul our education system.

Until parents and families -- not schools -- get about the business of preparing children for life, this country has no shot at a better future.

Read the report: Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytical Report on High School Graduation (pdf)