The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 22, 2009

In our view: Turn slogan into reality

Dismal graduation rates undercut the purpose of public education and reduce the value of taxpayer-financed schools. That may seem a harsh assessment, but it mirrors the fact that too many students waste years of educational opportunity by dropping out of high school each year.

It is a troubling phenomenon that has had educators, legislators and parents scratching their heads for decades. Reducing the problem to dollars and cents is basic. Tax dollars expended on young people who walk away before completing their education is, if not wasted, then given a reduced return on investment.

But the truth is that the most serious impact of a high dropout rate will be felt by those who refuse to finish their schooling. They may achieve success in life at some point, but it most likely will require a greater struggle.

Education simply is a key to opening doors that can lead to better paying jobs, college degrees and personal fulfillment. While a high-school diploma doesn’t guarantee happiness, it does increase the opportunities.

We applaud the determination of the Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction and Carthage school districts to develop a specific, collaborative plan for encouraging more students to remain in school and thereby reduce the dropout rate. Certainly there is room for improvement. Only 74.2 percent graduate in Joplin, while the rates run from 85 and 84.5 percent for Carthage and Carl Junction, respectively, to 82 percent for Webb City.

Missouri’s graduation rate is an unimpressive 85 percent.

Giving impetus to local dropout prevention efforts is a new law requiring that youths remain in school until 17 years of age. Under the old law, they could leave at 16. That means students who dropped out at 16 last year will have to return this fall.

No one believes that every student will graduate. For a variety of personal reasons, some young people will not complete their educational experience. But they should.

“Graduation Matters” is not only a Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education slogan, but a prophecy.

1
Text Only
Opinion
Local News
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Poll

Given that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that electronic devices and communications are protected from searches and seizure without a warrant, do you think Missouri needs Amendment 9 added to its constitution?

A. Yes.
B. No.
     View Results
Facebook
NDN Video
Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow
Sports