Lifestyle & Belief

National Mall art installation focuses on education


College Board set up an installation of 857 desks to represent the number of students in the United States who drop out of school each hour of a school day.


Alex Wong

Every hour of every school day 857 students drop out of school.

Though the singular statistic can seem shocking in itself, the rows of empty desks currently flanking the Washington Monument is a harsh representation of the state of the US education system, according to the AP

The desks, part of an art installation by College Board, represent the number of students who drop out of school each hour of every school day as part of its "Don't Forget Ed!" campaign.

As Gaston Caperton, president of College Board, wrote in the Huffington Post, "No serious person disputes that the American education system is failing, but we have no consensus on how to fix it."  

According to Tom Lovelss, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, education has not been an issue of interest to voters on the national level since the 2000 race between George W. Bush and Al Gore. Loveless doesn't expect voters to change much this year, because of the small role that the federal government plays in determining education policy. 

"President Obama and Governor Romney both have addressed aspects of our education problem, sometimes forcefully, but with so much of America's future riding on the state of our schools, there is much more for them to say," Caperton wrote. 

College Board believes that the issue of education is underplayed on the campaign trail, and hopes that the 857 desks on the National Mall help bring the issue to the attention of the candidates.