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The Death of "Why?" by Andrea Batista Schlesinger

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173

10: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Youth?

THE ANSWER WAS NO.

The proposal was for a trade high school in the city of Hampton, Virginia. Proponents argued that such a school would decrease the dropout rate in Hampton, where 73 percent of students graduate.1 It was January 2007. The mayor felt one way; the young people present felt another way. The pressure was intense.

After careful questioning it became clear that the trade school, however compelling a proposal in its own right, would not actually solve the problem it was intended to solve. Young people were dropping out for reasons that could not be addressed by the presence of a trade school. Therefore, a trade school was not a viable solution. The answer was no.

No to the mayor, that is.

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