Posing for the camera with babies is a political pastime for presidential candidates. Kids are, after all, our future. But does all that political posing amount to much? National high school graduation rates suggest otherwise, while college debt casts an ever larger shadow of doubt on our success as an educated nation. Here are the issues candidates need to address.
Did You Know?
High School Drop Out Rates
The national high school graduation rate is a depressing 75%, meaning one out of four kids don’t ever throw a mortarboard in the air. At some schools, it’s worse, with only a 60 percent graduation rate — a shameful statistic that has given rise to the term “dropout factories” for schools that can’t make the grade. In President Obama’s State of the Union speech this year, he called on states to step up and keep kids in school until grad day, or until their 18th birthday.
While good teachers can’t save a drowning school system, bad teachers fare even worse. So how do we make sure teachers get the support they want, and schools get the teachers they need, so that schools can get on the path toward improvement? Former President George W. Bush's No Child Left Behind legislation didn’t work, and, though it spawned innovative ideas, President Obama's Race to the Top met plenty of criticism and disappointment. What will our next prez do?
A college degree is practically a non-negotiable for entering the professional workforce. If only that degree came with a $25,000 check, which is the average amount of debt graduates have when they finish school... that is, if they finish — 40% of college students don’t. Tuition hikes have gone up 511 percent since 1999, and despite middle-class aspirations for all, the feds aren’t doing much to bail out recent grads.