The United States public education system faces a major crisis. There is mounting evidence that too many high school students drop out and too many others graduate unprepared for either college or employment (Wise 8). Nationally, barely 30 percent of entering high school freshmen can read at grade level, more than 1.2 million American high school students drop out each year, and 42 percent of freshmen in community colleges and 20 percent of freshmen in public universities require remedial courses in reading, mathematics, and writing (Wise 8). These are the elements of a crisis that must be addressed by means of practical strategies to help students succeed in high school.
Many efforts at reforming the American high school system have been undertaken, but the problems delineated above serve as evidence that these efforts have not succeeded (Seltz 96). Secondary education seems largely immune "to the reforms and changes in content, context, and culture that many primary, elementary, and middle school educators have embraced in the past decades" (Seltz 96). Because this is the case, the thesis presented herein is that it will require leadership new commitment on the part of students, leadership in the classroom and the school district level, state support, and a presidential mandate to help students succeed in high school.
Students can do much to improve their learning and achieving outcomes in high school (Stover 18-19). Improving their own attendance, seeking tutorial and other assistance, and working directly with teachers and school administrators to identify school problems and to identify solutions to those problems are all activities in which students can and should participate.
Stover (18) reported that research shows that raising achievement and turning around low-performing schools requires a long range plan. Students are an often overlooked source of input in identifying those variables that negativ...