The country, plagued by economic struggles, unemployment and uncertainness, is also currently faced with another factor on the rise: high school dropouts. The sheer number of students leaving high school before graduation has exponentially grown. Though there are many exceptions to this, from a high school student’s point of view there are general factors that influence these life-altering decisions. Lack of hope and drive, as well as familial discord provide excess slack for the government to pick up.
In today’s society, very few are looking forward with optimism. Experiencing financial difficulties and skyrocketing unemployment rates make for dismal outlooks on life. When added to possible academic struggles, I believe many students lose the drive to complete high school. If they have families who are in need of more income, some choose to leave school to help support them by working full time. Similarly, if they cannot graduate in four years due to failing a class or non-transferable credits, many will simply give up rather than make the extra effort. There are also students who simply do not understand the need for higher level education in the modern world. Through no fault of the teacher there are some who do not realize how difficult they make their lives when they decide to quit on themselves. The converse is also true however; some students acknowledge that they will not amount to their potential and decide to take a low-pay-hard-work form of job. There are high school students who are independent and living on their own who, experiencing the rise in rent and cost of goods as well as insurance, stop seeing the benefits of high school and start seeing the amount of money they could make if their day was free. Unfortunately, with an economy in the toilet, and various demands placed on certain students in certain situations, the high school dropout rate continues to rise.
There is a profile many attribute to high school dropouts: stupidity and delinquency. Many times, however, I have witnessed students from all races and personalities decide to leave school. Families play a large role in students’ lives. Parents should be mentors there to help and support. Unfortunately, not all kids have that luxury. Sometimes, students can be kicked out of their house because of certain circumstances. While they are usually caused by the student, the fact remains that many high school dropouts leave because they have been forced into the real world requiring real money and a real jobs.
For the country, the rise in high school dropouts has an extremely negative effect. Most who leave high school before graduation will never make enough money to pay taxes; therefore, those who do diligently finish high school and college are forced to pay more taxes. Statistically, the Kansas City Star reported on October 11, 2009 that there is shown to be a rise in violence and births out of wedlock in alignment with the rise in high school dropouts. There has also been a rise in criminal activity. More are being imprisoned just as more and more students are dropping out of high school. This costs the state a significant amount of money, coming from taxpayers, simply to supplement high school dropouts. Because the country has fewer people receiving their diplomas in both high school and college, as a nation, there is less being contributed to the world. Globally, the United States is pitifully behind in the areas of mathematics and science and these positions will not be improved in the near future if there is no way to keep students in school long enough to study them. Through no fault of administrators or teachers, students are dropping left and right and this has a very detrimental effect on society and the government.
Though each student has his or her reasons for leaving, there are general reasons that can be targeted for help. For example, for the students who are uninformed about the real world, we can start at a lower level trying to force and explain the idea that high school graduation is a necessity for survival by going to the elementary or the junior high schools and presenting panels and workshops showing them how vital it will be to their success in life. For the independent students, struggling to make ends meet, we should enable them more time in their day by spreading out their school load similar to those in our work study program only without the current restrictions. Counselors should play a more active role in the students’ high school careers than just a person to send colleges the students’ transcripts and the occasional schedule change. Counselors can do this by visiting with students and making sure their schedule fits their needs for both graduation and their lives outside of school. Right now the only person students can rely on who will sit down and discuss life problems and help better the situations are the prevention specialists and even they were perilously close to being let go due to budget cuts. There are many situations and circumstances that cannot be avoided; however, the school still has areas it can exert itself in to help reduce the dramatic number of high school dropouts.
High school dropouts were never as much of an economic stressor as they are now. Because they are influencing taxpayers, national achievement, the economy and communities, high school dropouts are a problem with no definite solution. Without being able to see any clear or direct solutions, I propose that we increase counselor number and their involvement in the students’ academic needs both in and out of school as well as supporting our prevention specialists who are among the front lines of defense against the rising number of high school dropouts.