Viewpoint: Teens need to be in school

You already know that Georgia has far too many high school dropouts, but a recent study done by Northeastern University in Boston reveals a problem that's probably far worse than you thought.

Georgia has the highest dropout rate in America for males between the ages of 16 and 24, at 22.1 percent.

Being a dropout in an analog world where people read newspapers, computers didn't exist, and there were plenty of manual jobs around would be bad enough. But imagine what awaits a person who doesn't even finish high school in a 3-G, high-def world where everything you can think of uses a computer or IS a computer...

Dropouts begin as truants, skipping school and getting into trouble.

Truancy and gang activity often go hand and hand, authorities tell us. Dougherty County school police are helping fight truancy and gang problems by patrolling the county looking for students skipping school.

We applaud this effort, and call for more action by educators, law enforcement, and especially parents. Young people must see that skipping school leads down a bad path that ends in perpetual ignorance, poverty, and frequently, crime.

At a time when Georgia has more students enrolled in higher education that ever, dropouts will only find themselves further and further behind, and this can only increase the income gap between rich and poor.

Minorities are most adversely affected by this, and we see this disparity reflected in the dropout rates of whites, blacks, and Hispanics.

Let's all work together to encourage young people to stay in school, and absorb all the knowledge that is presented to them. They are going to need it, whether they realize it or not.