Let’s tackle dropout rate creatively

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 23, 2010

America’s education system isn’t working for everyone. The fact is that our nation’s dropout rate is too high. Adams County’s is abysmal.

But a myriad of factors may cause someone to drop out of school.

Too often, critics of the education system simply chalk up the dropouts to simple societal cast-offs, not worth much time or concern.

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That’s a huge mistake. To write off those folks is a gross injustice. Society needs those folks to have a second, or even a third chance, to succeed.

Dropouts are much more likely to become less productive members of society and perhaps more dependent on expensive government social programs.

For those reasons, creative thinking and extra effort to train those folks, get them educated and equipped to become self-sustaining is critical.

If you don’t believe us, last week our community saw 12 walking, talking pieces of evidence to the contrary.

The 2010 class of Youth Build graduates, though small in number, was a powerful step toward doing something to help the folks who would otherwise have fallen through the cracks.

The program, funded through the U.S. Department of Labor, provided students with job training and counseling to help prepare them to enter the job force.

That’s one government program that we think is long overdue and probably far under-utilized.

The non-conventional thinking that went into that program is the kind of work we need to do more if we hope to curb the rate of dropouts and increase the number of productive workers in this country.