dropout factory
n. A school or educational system with a high dropout rate.

Example Citations:
'More than a half-century after Brown v. Board of Education, we still have two school systems, separate and unequal,' Mr. Edwards said. 'There are nearly 1,000 high schools where more than half of the students won't graduate — they're called 'dropout factories.''
—Julie Bosman, "Education And Schools Are a Focus For Edwards," The New York Times, September 22, 2007

It's a nickname no principal could be proud of: "dropout factory," a high school where no more than 60 percent of the students who start as freshmen make it to their senior year. That dubious distinction applies to more than one in 10 high schools across America.

"If you're born in a neighborhood or town where the only high school is one where graduation is not the norm, how is this living in the land of equal opportunity?" asks Bob Balfanz, the researcher at Johns Hopkins University who defines such a school as a "dropout factory."

There are about 1,700 regular or vocational high schools nationwide that fit that description, according to an analysis of Education Department data conducted by Johns Hopkins for The Associated Press. ...

The highest concentration of dropout factories is in large cities or high-poverty rural areas in the South and Southwest. Most have high proportions of minority students. ...

Utah, which has low poverty rates and fewer minorities than most states, is the only state without a dropout factory. Florida and South Carolina have the highest percentages. About half of high schools in those states classify as dropout factories.
—Nancy Zuckerbrod, "More than 1 in 10 high schools in America are 'dropout factories'," Associated Press, October 29, 2007

Earliest Citation:
Milwaukee Public Schools stand little chance of meeting Gov. Tommy Thompson's challenge to either raise student achievement or face what is virtually a state takeover, an MPS school board member says. "We are a dropout factory," said Leon Todd, an African-American member of the MPS School Board.
—William Breyfogle, "Todd calls MPS a 'dropout factory'," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, July 2, 1998

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