This is a proposed research approach that attempts to shed light on the cyclical nature of education problems and our inability to adequately address these problems. We continually examine bits and pieces of the education process to understand the whole. This paper suggests that the use of longitudinal data systems be utilized as a holistic approach to reexamine issues regarding the degree of efficiency of our schools. Specifically, addressing the dropout problem through intervention strategies that are implemented at the wrong time will never be successful. Using longitudinal data systems with complementary analysis techniques, such as survival analysis, may help resolve some of the questions that have plagued the American education system for the past century.