Dropouts appear with the regularity of automobiles rolling off the assembly line. Secretary of Labor W. Willard Wirtz describes them as "the outlaw pack" who are "unemployed today and will be for the rest of their lives at a cost to us of $1,000 a head a year . . . ." Michael Harrington calls them "The New Lost Generation" and James B. Conant's more strikingly descriptive phrase, "social dynamite," is enough to pull every citizen up sharp. J. Edgar Hoover, in a report on the outbreak of violence in nine Northern communities, pointed his finger at the dropout, rather than racists or communists, as Public Enemy Number 1.
But, how does the dropout see himself? When given a chance, what does he have to say? Has his failure to obtain a high-school diploma deprived him of full citizenship in our affluent society? Whom does he blame for his failure? If he is unable to find work, how will he live in our automated economy?
In this unique and imaginative book the dropout speaks for himself. His views are compared with those of a high-school graduate having the same I.Q. and similar social and economic background. We learn how these young people feel about their families, friends, and teachers. We gain insight into many of their basic emotions and attitudes.
This intensely human document lays bare the causes and cures of one of the greatest challenges ever to face our people. Reading this book is an important step toward solving the problem of the dropout. The picture that emerges is authentic, compelling, and fascinating.