“Not all dropouts give up. Lots of us think every day, ‘Man, I do want to go to school,’ especially in this economy,” says Selena Jiles, a student in a Kent-based dropout re-engagement program called iGrad. Jiles spends some of her time caring for her cousins, including Gladys Duncan, 5. Photo by Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times.
This is the time of year for celebrating graduates, loudly and happily. Yet we shouldn’t forget the students who left school without a diploma weeks or years before their classmates crossed the stage.
There are a lot of them — 19,000 in Washington’s class of 2013, or about 24 percent of the nearly 80,000 who started high school as freshmen four years before.
Nationally, the number of students who don’t graduate on time stands at about 800,000, according to a new, national report from America’s Promise Alliance, a national coalition of nonprofits, businesses, communities, educators and policymakers.
The Alliance titled its report “Don’t Call Them Dropouts” because many of the 200 young people it interviewed asked it to stop using that term.
They may not have graduated, the interviewees said, but they haven’t given up. Many are enrolled in high-school completion programs or have returned to school.