My high school had a dropout rate somewhere between 25 and 30%.
"If you're born in a neighborhood or town where the only high school is one where graduation is not the norm, how is this living in the land of equal opportunity?" asks Bob Balfanz, the Johns Hopkins researcher who coined the term "dropout factory."
There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. That's 12 percent of all such schools, about the same level as a decade ago.
While some of the missing students transferred, most dropped out, says Balfanz. The data look at senior classes for three years in a row to make sure local events like plant closures aren't to blame for the low retention rates.