Yes, Alaska has high school dropouts. Too many.
ABC News: Are U.S. Schools 'Dropout Factories'?
Last year, the graduation rates for high schools in the Anchorage School District were 59, 82, 83, 82, 69, 72, 84, and 56.
What happens to the students who dropout? Well, some go to AVAIL. We take students who are behind in their academic credits or dropped out of school.
And the AVAIL graduation rate is 31%. In other words, we are 31% successful in helping students earn a diploma. On time. (Some AVAIL students graduate in their 5th year. They don't count in the graduation rate but I consider them successful.)
Is a 100% graduation rate realistic? Can all students can meet the minimum standards for graduation in 4 years?
Probably not by maintaining status quo. 'All men are created equal' does not extend to intellectual ability. And so 100% is unrealistic if we continue to educate all students in the same way.
We need to do a much better job of graduating those students who are capable of doing so. We need earlier identification of at-risk youth. And alternatives for those students with diverse learning styles or learning disabilities.
America is great because it gives all men the opportunity to become great. Public education must do no less.
Edit - ADN has a similar story in the paper today.
Seven Alaska schools labeled 'dropout factories' by U.S.