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A Time magazine report highlights some disturbing facts. One million American students drop out of school every year—that's one every nine seconds!

To get to the heart of the "dropout nation," Oprah correspondent Lisa Ling went to Shelbyville, Indiana, located about 30 miles from Indianapolis. Though to most eyes this middle class town does not look like a place that would have a dropout problem, the truth is that one of three students in Shelbyville won't graduate. "I think [when] the average person thinks dropout, they think urban, they think minority. But that's just not the case," says Shelbyville schools superintendent David Adams. "If you think that you don't have a dropout problem in your community because you're a middle class community, you're kidding yourself."

On a tour of a high school in Shelbyville, Lisa spoke with several classrooms full of students. Almost all of them knew someone who had dropped out. "It becomes such a norm that nobody really thinks about it," one student says.

Principal Tom Zobel says his mission is to keep students invested in their education. "They don't want to go through the effort to get the high school diploma because they don't see a need for it," he says.
FROM: What Bill and Melinda Gates Want You to Know
Published on April 11, 2006