Thursday, February 26, 2009

high school dropouts! u-rah-rah!

there was an interesting exchange this morning, between cnn anchor heidi collins and former education secretary bill bennett, while discussing what i thought was one of the best moments of president obama's speech to congress tuesday night:

(video from tuesday night)
dropping out of high school is no longer an option. it's not just quitting on yourself, it's quitting
on your country. and this country needs and values the talents of every american. that is why we will provide the support necessary for all young americans to complete college, and meet a new goal: by 2020 america will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

(shaking her head)
alright, so i don't know what he meant about, you know, 'letting down your country if you're unable to finish high school' –

(rolling his eyes)
. grrrrr.
(further soft grumbling)

– however when he talks about this goal in 2020, how realistic is that, what is the detail, what is he paying for, what is that support he's talking about?

look i'm generally in favor of education..."life is a race between education and catastrophe" h.g. wells said. but i don't agree with what the president said. there are some people who drop out of high school, and join the military, and make very good lives for themselves–

my father-in-law.

–and serve their country very, very well.

so, let's not encourage people to complete high school. really, dropping out of high school should be an option for you, especially if you're going to join the military.

did successful high school dropouts around the country take offense at that line from obama's address? are there a lot of high school dropouts who would encourage their own kids to follow in their footsteps? if we guarantee kids a college future, might some of them not drop out?

i understand, let's not be disparaging. the reasons kids drop out of high school are many, not all of them under their own control. but what if the president stood before the country and said "look, i'm all for education, but there are plenty of people who drop out of high school and do very, very well."

how would bill bennett have reacted to that?


  1. You can tell you're from Waterford because you say "U-Rah-Rah!" I love it!

  2. I dropped out of high school in eleventh grade, went and got my GED and had my Associates degree as an RN before i was nineteen years old. High school just isnt for some people, and as much as i think its something that should be pursued by those who it is for, i dont believe that it should be forced on those who dont feel the need for it. You can make a great life for yourself without a high school diploma. Honestly, i hope one of obamas daughters drop out or something just so his veiws change.

  3. Anon, good for you. That's something to be proud of. I didn't go to college, and I often feel...judged for not having gone. Yet, look at me today. (Kidding.)

    Mabye I'm wrong here, but I don't think Obama would agrue with you. What I think he was saying here is that we should encourage young people to get an education. I think he was talking to the thousands of kids who simply drop out and don't really pursue anything beyond. There are probably too many kids who don't do what you did, and that can effect their futures negatively.

    No doubt, plenty of high-school dropouts go on to great things (I had a very successful partner who never finished high school.)

    And you're a great example of that as well.



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