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    Posted March 2, 2010 by
    Seattle, Washington
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    iReport for CNN

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    Dropout Nation - The Solutions


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     vijays told me, 'We started as an open ended exploration in late 2006 by talking to counselors, teachers and experts in the field of education. We then realized that it's most important to talk to dropouts. So we approached several organizations to get access to kids that dropped out.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    In 1962, one out of three kids dropped out of high school. In 2010, one out of three kids still drops out across America.


    No community, rural or urban, escapes this problem. For Latinos and African Americans, the drop out rate approaches an alarming 50 percent. Facts don’t tell this story. The kids do.
    Meet Alyssa Jackson, age 15. She’s a freshman, pregnant, and thinking about dropping out of school.


    Meet Jorge Luis, age 18. He just got a part-time job at Starbucks to help his single mom provide for his two little sisters. If he quits high school now, he thinks he can work fulltime and get benefits. He thinks he can always go back to school and get his GED if he needs it. He’s only three months from graduating.


    Meet Mark Williams, age 17. He’s bored with school. He gets good grades without even studying. His parents both work two jobs and don’t have much time to spend with him. He’s starting to experiment with drugs. He wants to quit school.

    Why do one third of our kids become high school casualties? What makes them trade in a variety of courses and a social life for a job making latte’s for $6.50 an hour? What will happen to them in a year? Where will they be in 12 months or 12 years as they raise families and battle for decent jobs? How does this staggering drop out rate impact our society? Is this really a silent epidemic? Why has nothing changed in 40 years?

    We have conducted interviews with high school dropouts, GED program managers, teachers, and parents, and have scheduled additional interviews. Existing partnerships include: Bellevue Community College, Sammamish Montessori School, ETC Prep Academy, and Washington State’s Community Center for Alternative Programs, as well as school counselors, juvenile detention centers, and the City of Seattle’s Prosecutor's Office.

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