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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The education crisis in America's largest cities is assuming frightening proportions.
Only about half of all students who attend the main school systems in the 50 largest cities actually graduate from high school. A study by the non-profit "Editorial Projects in Education Research Center" describes graduating from high school in these cities as quote "a coin toss." This rate of 52% is far below the national graduation rate of 70%.
The main school districts of Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland and Baltimore had the lowest rates in the country, all below 40%. In Detroit, Michigan the high school graduation rate is 25%.
Not surprisingly there is a sharp contrast between urban and suburban schools. In 35 of the nation's largest cities, graduation rates were lower in the city than in the suburbs. Sometimes the difference was more than 35 percentage points. In Baltimore, 82% of students in suburban districts graduated; only 35% of the kids in the city did.
Nationwide, almost one in three high school students drops out before graduation – that's about 1.2 million dropouts every year. Former Secretary of State Colin Powell calls the dropout rate not just a crisis, but a catastrophe. He's the founding chairman of the group that presented the report.
Officials say more community involvement is needed, and leaders of business and faith-based groups are being urged to make graduation a priority when they talk with students.
Here’s my question to you: How can the U.S. compete globally when only about half the students in our largest cities graduate from high school?
Interested to know which ones made it on air?
KB from Iowa writes:
As a former teacher, I feel I have the right to say our system is broken. We're still teaching school like it's the 1950s to kids living in the year 2008. We need to move away from a system based on grade levels and put together a system based on objectives and outcomes, then present it to students in a way that is more relevant to their times. My 10-year-old learned more from the 2-hour history channel show about the Revolutionary War than it took her teacher 4 weeks to cover in her book. Why? Because my 10-year-old imports information in a much different way than kids did 50 years ago.
Dan from New York writes:
Dear Jack, The low graduation rate in this country is alarming, but the more alarming issue is the level of education reflected by those who do graduate. Far too many of them are functionally illiterate. I think the effort to get more students to get diplomas is wasted if that diploma doesn't represent something valuable.
Aron from Toronto writes:
You're kidding, right? That ship has sailed. As one who traveled 200,000 miles on business last year, I can tell you for certain that the world places no hope, no weight upon America's youth making even a future ripple in the global waters… Having visited the top public schools in India and China, I can assure you that the future for America's youth is much bleaker than even the greatest skeptics could imagine.
Richard from Syracuse writes:
As a life-long resident of Syracuse, New York, I have seen young black kids beaten up because they want to learn. They have the drive and desire to learn more and more. But other blacks beat them up because they are "trying to be white". Education is the great equalizer and as long as our inner cities ignore education and beat up those who want to learn there will never be equality.