As American flags waved in the breeze, there was a strange sight on Wednesday not far from the base of the Washington Monument.
Chairs. A lot of them. The kind of desk chairs you sit in at school. Heads turned as people walked by.
"I'm wondering what's happening here," was the comment one woman made.
What's happening is that a non-profit called the College Board has set up 857 desks. One desk for every kid in the United States who drops out of school every hour of every school day.
When they heard the explanation, people were shocked.
"You're on the National Mall. You're within sight of the Washington Monument and you see this sea of desks here. You really think about that each desk represents a student that is gonna drop out of school, it really drives home the point - the crisis situation in American education today," says Peter Kauffmann of the College Board.
They're the people who brought you the SATs. It's a non-profit. They are hoping to get people talking about education in this presidential election year. They want the display to be jarring. Even U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan stopped by and expressed some surprise.
"I think our biggest challenge is complacency in this country. We need to jar people. We need to get them to understand the reality of the crisis that we're dealing with," says Duncan.