A powerful installation on the National Mall today is meant to call attention to the nation’s current drop-out rate: the 857 desks represent the number of students who drop out of high school in the United States every single hour, according to the College Board’s calculations.
The College Board set up the display as part of its “Don’t Forget Ed!” campaign to urge the presidential candidates to make education a more prominent issue in their platforms for the 2012 election. The organization collected signatures on the Mall yesterday for a petition that reads: “If you want my support, I need to hear more from you about how you plan to fix the problems with education. And not just the same old platitudes. I want to know that you have real, tangible solutions, and that once in office, you’re ready to take serious action. I’ll be watching your acceptance speech at your party’s convention.”
Even when the U.S. is not suffering from the sort of economic doldrums in which it is currently mired, high school dropouts suffer from very high unemployment.