For 40,000 kids in Florida every year, ninth grade is where it all falls apart. No other grade offers such an honest view into what schools are really like, and by extension, so brutally forces us to confront the flip side: How we raise our kids. Yet recent education laws now demand that schools ensure that all students succeed, no matter how warped their brains, no matter how Jerry Springer their homes.
Chapter 1
  • Chaos
    Ninth grade is where it all falls apart. In Florida, nearly 40,000 ninth-graders are held back each year, enough to fill every school in Sarasota County.
  • Listen to the story
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
  • Synchronicity
    For millions of years, our ancestors spent a lot of time with their kids, if only to shield them from hungry predators. For the past few hundred, we haven't.
  • Listen to the story
Chapter 4
  • Erosion
    The class of 2009 at Northeast could use the pick-me-up. In August, 813 ninth-graders enrolled, 680 are left.
  • Listen to the story

  • Available to download. Listen to the story segments on your mp3 player. Warning: Profane language


Site Archives Web
Subscribe to the Times
Click here for daily delivery
of the St. Petersburg Times.

Email Newsletters



© 2007 • All Rights Reserved • St. Petersburg Times
490 First Avenue South • St. Petersburg, FL 33701 • 727-893-8111
Contact the Times | Privacy Policy | Standard of Accuracy | Terms, Conditions & Copyright