High School GraduationI heard that an astounding rate of high school students will not graduate on-time this year. According to the federal government statistics, only about 75 percent of high school students will be graduating, while 25 percent will not. Of course those numbers are very general across all types, races, genders, etc. It gets way out of hand when you start looking at specifics.

For instance, the report continued to parse out:

  • A whopping 40% of African-American and Hispanic students won’t graduate.
  • Male students are more likely not to graduate than female students.
  • In 2008, Nevada only graduated 51% of its students.
  • Washington DC only graduated 58%.
  • Wisconsin and Vermont graduated over 81%.

It’s alarming – especially when you think that these kids are our hope and future. They are the people who will be governing this country; staffing the military; running Wall Street and big business. And it’s creating a new “great divide” where the middle class disappears and we are left with only the educated (upper class) and the uneducated (the lower class).

Personally, I don’t have to worry about my family (thankfully). My niece graduated college this year with honors (I was a very happy uncle!), and my partner’s son is graduating high school and heading to college with excellent grades, having been inducted to the National Honor Society twice. They’re smart. They get it. They understand the need for education and were willing (and able) to go after it to get what they needed to succeed. They have big dreams, but what sets them apart is the tools they now have to follow those dreams.

Those who will not be graduating on-time this year I’ve heard have dreams also. Their dreams are to be the next Justin Bieber, or the next famous actor who is found on the street. When pressed what their backup plan is, some just admit they’ll sit back and collect checks from the government – like it’s free money and as if it’ll always be there and will be enough for them to live. It’s sad.

But where does the fault lie? With society? With the government? With the parents? What will it take to change this?

Sandra Day O’Connor is retired from the bench of the Supreme Court only to start creating new video games. Yes, you heard right: video games. She explained in an interview back in 2008 that “only one-third of Americans can name the three branches of government, but two-thirds of Americans can name a judge on American Idol.”

(For those of you still scratching your heads, the three branches are Executive, Legislative, and Judicial; but I’ll just let you Google them to find out which one does what.)

She continued to say that No Child Left Behind (that wonderful Republican act of 2001) shifted the budgets of schools. They had to cut, and what they cut were the classes they thought unnecessary to make ends meet – civics. So she’s created the game which will teach children (and adults?) about the judicial system.

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