June 20th, 2012
04:57 PM ET

Empty desks send message to candidates

by Anna-Lysa Gayle, CNN

Washington (CNN) – On Tuesday, the College Board placed hundreds of desks across the National Mall. The 857 desks represent the number of students who drop out of school each hour of every school year.

“We hear so much about the crisis of education in America, but when you see it visually-it really makes people pause,” stressed the Vice President of Communications for the College Board, Peter Kauffmann.

The desks are part of the College Board’s ‘Don’t Forget Ed’ campaign.

“What ‘Don’t forget Ed’ is trying to do is to elevate the issue of education in the presidential campaign season,” said Kauffmann.

Jamie Williams is a college adviser at Clemson University who was on a visit to the Mall with his two sons when he saw the massive display of desks.

“Seeing this reminds me that there are students who don’t go to college or even finish high school—and this goes on in this county,” said Williams. “We have a long way to go to reduce the number of desks we see next year.”

Read: By the numbers: High school dropouts

Filed under: High school • Politics • Practice • video
soundoff (26 Responses)
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    June 23, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
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    June 22, 2012 at 7:23 pm |
  3. Jack

    After spending the last 15 years of my life overseas I read the article and the posts, and I cannot help but wonder, "Oh Dear Lord, whatever happened to this country while I was away???"

    June 22, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  4. dixie

    Vote jeff davis

    June 21, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  5. tibs

    Throwing money at education wont do anything to stop high schoolers who want to drop out from dropping out. Were still operating under the 100 year old systems of John Dewey. Federally directed education, like anything federally directed, is fail sauce.

    Theres a reason the best and brightest avoid education. We could have thousands of different types of schools competeing for students of all kinds. Like most things, the answer is less government and more personal choice.

    June 21, 2012 at 10:51 am |
  6. Dana Pohlson

    Who cares!

    June 21, 2012 at 8:18 am |
    • Trevor Brimson

      @ Dana Pohlson
      "Who cares!"


      You're right why would anyone want to ensure that the future of your country has an education... Mass producing illiterates has worked out extremely well for you guys so far.

      June 21, 2012 at 10:20 am |
      • Dana Pohlson

        University is a money making sham. I wasted 4 years in college, graduated in 2001 with comp sci toilet rag, and ended up a construction laborer. For me it was absolutely a giant lie and a total waste of time and money. Perhaps those going to MIT or CalTech are in demand and have a future, but the remainder need only vocational training. For example how to repair chinese made vending machines.

        June 26, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  7. clarke


    June 21, 2012 at 6:32 am |
  8. a

    Yeah, well if the students didn't have to waste money on these useless tests maybe more would stay in school. America did just fine for decades without the federal intervention, college boards and the like. Most people didn't go to college because they didn't need to go to college. Many still don't and would be much better off in a technical training setting.

    College has become a big scam for many students. Promising career opportunities that are unrealistic and forcing students into debt from which many will never recover. Too many worthless courses are taught just for the sole purpose of employing useless professors. If a student elects any other path than STEM programs they are mostly wasting their time and money unless they are doing it for the social scene.

    June 21, 2012 at 12:35 am |
    • DDallas

      So, so right! Almost comical to witness out here in Cali. We have a Gov who has decided everyone can go to college, whether they are legal or not and can afford it or not! CA college students at our liberal schools were joyous, um until they realized SOMEONE had to pay for it. They are just staring to understand that after all these yrs of the "other guy" paying, they have become "the other guy". Its funny and sad at the same time.

      June 21, 2012 at 12:58 am |
  9. Wyse

    I wonder if Romney is d current Pres dat makes him liable 4 d blames of skool dropouts.. Typical democrats always anticipatin wat odas will do n neva lukin @ wat urs is currently doin.. Lukin @ d Romney in oda ppl's eye n 4getin d Obama obstructin ur view... Wait U called somtin Obamacare in honour of d owner I wonda aw is d@ a Romney's fault was he in d house when d bill was passed or did he signed it on behalf of Obama..? I nid 2 know.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
    • Dan 5404

      Total gibberish. Did you learn to spell in pre-school and stopped there?

      June 20, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
      • DDallas

        Uneducated anyone?????

        June 20, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
  10. myk_H

    That's the plan of right wing politicians. We're already 64th in income inequality (which they want to make worse), and this is the next step, keep the population uneducated.

    June 20, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • DDallas

      You are correct, the vast majority of the "uneducated" put this current inept bozo in the White House!

      June 20, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
      • Andi Young

        You maybe correct DDallas but over 60% of the "uneducated" was white. A Lot of Blacks didn't vote because they didn't think Obama would win and even if he did they didn't think he would make any changes.

        June 21, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • BunnyBunny

      The goal of the Republicans is cheap labor, that's desperate, uneducated, willing to work for pennies. They do not want smart people capable of critical thinking. They want you just barely smart enough to do the work & not figure out how you're being bilked.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
      • DDallas

        Well Bunny the evil Republican plot has been a success! You and I are surrounded by an astonding number of idiots. I actually live in a state that won't elect someone who isn't a raving moron! By the way do these Republicans who wish to populate America with stupid people, do they wear a sign that says "evil repub"???? Odd the evil repubs want to control the boarder, cheap and uneducated labor pours in on the hour by the hour!!!! For the love of God, PLEASE COME UP WITH SOMETHING NEW!!!!!!

        June 21, 2012 at 12:01 am |
      • cmurph103

        Ddallas, the Lilly Ledbetter bill, killed Osama, saved 10,000 lives of innocents in bengahzi, has put the toughest sanctions on Iran in history, followed through on the draw down from Iraq, has set up a plan for a draw down in Afghanistan, made several jobs bills that he sent to congress but were blocked by them, tried to shut down Guantanimo bay but was blocked by congress, tried to set up a consumer protection bureau but his nominee for the head is blocked in the house (they are trying to force him disassemble it), made an arms reduction treaty with Russia, helped our allies and made us respectable to most of the world after bush made us look like racing idiots, has eliminated the majority of al queda leaders and much more. And by the way, the president doesn't control the economy, only congress can pass bills to effect it, heck even free trade agreements have to go through them. The presidents main job is enforcing the law, protecting our nation, and foreign policy. Congress controls most domestic policy, sets the amount of money we can use, pays the bills, creates acts and bills, and can really do anything for the economy. So if u blame Obama for that, then you are a poor ignorant fool who doesn't understand our government system.

        June 21, 2012 at 1:34 am |

    One of the things Mitt Romney is famous for, along with inventing Obamacare and paying taxes at a very low rate, is driving to Canada with his pet dog strapped to the top of the car. We now hear that when dog and car reached Canada, the dog ran away, understandably. WHO DOES THIS ?? A JERK !! WILL NEVER EVER EVER GET MY VOTE

    June 20, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
    • DDallas

      Might not want to bring up Romneys dog if an Obama supporter. Which is worse "dog lover", dog on top of car or dog on dinner plate????

      June 20, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
    • BunnyBunny

      You mention Romney terrorizing his dog, you're bound to get the "but, Obama ate a dog" refrain. Of course Romney was in his 30's and should of known better. Obama was 6 years old. He ate what the adults put in front of him.

      June 20, 2012 at 11:38 pm |
      • DDallas

        Oh Bunny Bunny, typical liberal "justification" the refrain is boring and a tad tiresome. Please, for the sake of the run up to November get a new narrative. Try pointing out an accomplishment from Mr. Obama, something that has helped the country become better, stronger. I suspect we shant hear from you for a rather long time.

        June 20, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  12. 2020

    The visual image make my stomach turns. WHY? WHY? The Congress budget cut education, and wonder why America falls behind on reading, math and science. Romney want to wipe out department of Education and let the market place do the educating of your kids. See what happen to the health care, should tell you education is the next to fall. MAKING EDUCATION IS A LUXURY ITEM, ONLY THE RICH CAN AFFORD. – A THIRD WORLD SOLUTION.

    June 20, 2012 at 8:12 pm |
    • DDallas

      And the Department of Education is doing a great job too!!!!

      June 20, 2012 at 11:24 pm |