A young woman named Melanie, one of the young people the Notebook interviewed for this edition, posed this question of those involved with Philadelphia schools.
It is certainly an apt question in a city where just 6 students in 10 graduate.
In search of the youth perspective on the Philadelphia's persistent dropout crisis, we interviewed more than 20 young people trying to get back on track after unsuccessful encounters with school.
Here are some of their stories; others speak out throughout the edition.
The flip side of Melanie's question is "What can we do to keep them in school?" Policy makers in the city are thinking about this – one of Mayor Nutter's chief goals is to cut the dropout rate in half before he leaves office. Listening to these students, they need to think harder.
Three Notebook interviewers for this section – Celeste Lavin, Raquel Ronzone, and Michele Aweeky – are college students doing internships this semester. Benjamin Herold is a freelance writer.