Education Letter to the Editor

A Thousand-Word Picture on High School Retention

July 12, 2005 1 min read

To the Editor:

I read with interest your article “Keeping Overage Students in H.S. Proves Tough,” June 15, 2005. Until, that is, I came to the accompanying photograph of a teacher reading to her students. That picture was a thousand times more effective than the text in explaining why we can’t keep students in school: They are bored to the point of falling off their chairs.

Was the teacher in your photograph aware that two of her students were nearly asleep at their desks while she read on?

Walk the halls of any comprehensive middle or high school, and you will find that more than half the classrooms are completely out of touch with real learning. Adolescents need interactive, relevant experiences, not static, unconnected stories they can’t relate to. Students are not being challenged, and they know that most of what they are being told is geared toward passing the next test.

If high school students don’t see themselves as bound for college, test scores don’t interest them. Ask them what drives them, and help them be great at it. Then they won’t be dropping out of school and filling our prisons, day-laborer lines, or unemployment rolls.

Adrienne Mack-Kirschner

Los Angeles, Calif.