I find myself somewhat perplexed after reading the June 19 article about local high school graduation rates. Watertown High School officials were shocked and unsettled by the 40 percent dropout rate at their school and were skeptical that the statistics werent skewed by children of military families switching schools.
Yet no such skepticism was expressed in the August 12, 2008, article, Graduation Rate Shows Progress. Instead, it expressed optimism over the fact that Watertown High Schools rate had recently increased from 50 percent to 60 percent.
In 2008, my husband and I had just moved to the area, and we saved the article because of how appalled we were by the statistics. The prospect of raising and educating our future children here seemed downright scary.
Why did it take four years for school officials to suspect military children were influencing the statistics? The earlier 50 percent graduation rate didnt make them skeptical, yet the 60 percent rate did? As the June 21 article stated, Indian River schools enroll an even greater number of military children than Watertown. Yet Indian Rivers graduation rates are consistently at or above 70 percent.
Sadly, the truth of the matter is, that Watertowns dropout rate is a reflection of its welfare-based culture. My husband recently heard of a survey given to area teenagers that asked them to articulate their future aspirations. An alarming majority said their goal was to work seasonally during the summer and then collect unemployment the other seven to eight months of the year. A high school diploma is hardly necessary to achieve such lofty goals.
School officials need to pull their heads out of the sand and face reality. Students attitudes are what need adjusting, not statistical recordkeeping. When that is acknowledged, two out of five children might not end up dropping out.