High school students do drop out at the same rate they did 10 years ago, but to blame the high schools themselves ("1 in 10 high schools 'dropout factories,'" Oct. 30, Page A-1) is unfair to educators.
Non-academically inclined students are now forced to take double loads of English and mathematics because of the misguided notion that a one-size- fits-all education will improve the education of a population composed of individuals with highly varied talents.
Some students are simply not academic (i.e. four-year college) material. Their intelligences are considerable, but when forced to rise to multiple-choice test standards in abstract subjects (e.g. "algebra for all"), they become frustrated and disenchanted with schooling.
Vocational, arts, music, and other "hands-on" classes are being eliminated wholesale across the nation, when really, what we need are creative citizens, not test material drones. It's a miracle the high school dropout rate has not increased since No Child Left Behind and similar programs at the state level.
Many journalists join legislators in incessant criticisms of schools, and the chorus reflects more the need for a public whipping boy than a rational process for adjusting education to meet the complex needs of our society as our world changes.