NPR’s series, School’s Out: America’s Dropout Crisis, will depress the perkiest listener. Each part focuses on a young person from a very troubled (typically fatherless) family who has dropped out or seems likely to give up soon.
Dropouts are more likely to live in poverty and on welfare, do time behind bars, etc. But NPR doesn’t deal with the chicken-and-egg question: Do the traits that lead to dropping out also lead to failure in life? Could these kids have been saved if they’d been persuaded to stay in school another year or two to complete a diploma?