Finishing high school is an important milestone in a person’s life, which not only marks the beginning of adulthood, but also opens up higher education and career opportunities.
Unfortunately, the U.S.A suffers from one of the highest dropout rates in the developed world, with nearly 7,000 students dropping out of high school every day. In 2012, nearly 22 percent of all students left school without a high school diploma.
Dropping out of school can have disastrous, permanent effects on a person’s life. Teens quit school for any number of reasons, but knowing what they are and what risk factors are associated with them can help parents keep their child in school until graduation day. Family and Health ReasonsSeveral life factors can contribute to a teen dropping out. Many students struggle with family circumstances that are less than ideal. According to a recent survey by Professor Richard Head, 23 percent of dropouts indicated a lack of parental support as the reason for quitting school. Another 12 percent dropped out to help support their families. Also, if a teen gets seriously ill and misses too many days of school to graduate, he might drop out, even if he doesn’t really want to.
Serious events, such as deaths in the family, can also cause a teen to quit. Medical problems are a big contributor, with over 20 percent of female dropouts citing them as the reason they dropped out. Other psychological issues such as mental health disorders, including depression, accounted for 15 percent of dropouts in the study. Teenagers who quit school face poorer health outcomes due to low incomes and poor job security. Dropouts are less likely to receive job-based health insurance. Without access to health insurance, a person may not receive crucial preventive health care which can lower the incidence of chronic disease, and may be denied prompt treatment from doctors when necessary. ABC News reports that a dropout’s life span is nine years shorter than a high school graduate’s. Additionally, marriage rates and home ownership among dropouts are significantly lower, and the rate of divorce is higher.
Overall, students who quit high school have more health problems and more family problems later in life. Academic ReasonsOne of the primary reasons teens drop out of high school is because they aren’t successful at school. Students that have academic difficulties don’tusually enjoy school and might give up if they get tired of covering material that they don’t understand. In fact, children who are in the lowest 25 percent of the class are 20 times more likely to drop out. 15 percent of dropouts cited failing classes as their motive for quitting. Another factor that contributes to dropping out is disinterest, which often leads to high absences, which can prevent a student from graduating. Without a high school diploma, a person will have a difficult time gaining access to higher education.
In fact, most universities and colleges require students to have a diploma before they are accepted into a program. A student who lacks a high school diploma faces a huge disadvantage because it’s difficult to gain access to the advanced skills and training higher education offers. Economy & CrimePoverty causes many teens to quit school, and many might be forced to drop out in order to get a job and help support the family or find work to support themselves.
Other teens might give up because their family can’t afford school supplies, uniforms, school lunches, or transportation to and from school. High school dropouts are more likely to live in poverty, and turn to substance abuse and crime. Eighty-two per cent of all U.S prisoners never graduated high school.
Prisoners drain billions of dollars from the economy each year. The biggest disadvantage for dropouts is the lowered economic prospects compared to high school graduates. Their employment options are narrower and they are more than twice as likely to be unemployed. In 2011, the average income for a dropout was $20,241 per year, while those who graduated had an average income of $36,424. Overall, high school dropouts will earn $495,000 each less during their lifetimes than an individual with a diploma, and will be six times more likely to find themselves in prison. All in all, high school dropouts pose a mounting problem to themselves and society, but the problem is given little priority by our leaders.
In 1970, the United States was No. 1 in the world in high school completion; now it is No. 21. At the moment only 21 states require students to attend high school until they graduate.
It’s time for the American people to elect a leader who is committed to doing something about this problem.