A national poll of 16- to 25-year-olds about why they dropped out of high school uncovered some surprises.
WHY DO STUDENTS DROP OUT?
Classes aren't interesting or relevant to future: 47%
Missed too many days of school and couldn't catch up: 43%
Too much freedom and not enough rules: 38%
Was failing in school: 35%
Wanted a job to make money: 32%
WHAT WAS HIGH SCHOOL EXPERIENCE LIKE FOR DROPOUTS?
Had passing grades: 88%
Could have graduated if they had put forth the necessary effort: 70%
Not motivated or inspired to work hard: 69%
Would have worked harder if their high school had demanded more: 66%
WHAT DO HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS BELIEVE WOULD KEEP KIDS IN SCHOOL?
Opportunities for real-world learning (internships, service learning, etc.): 81%
Teachers who keep classes interesting: 81%
Smaller classes with more individual instruction: 75%
Better communication between parents and school: 71%
Increased supervision at school to ensure students attend classes: 70%
HOW DO HIGH SCHOOL DROPOUTS FEEL ABOUT THEIR CHOICE TODAY?
Believe graduating from high school is important to success in life: 81%
Would have stayed in school: 74%
Hard to find a job without a diploma: 47%
Source: "The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts," from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2006. (www.gatesfoundation.org)