High School Drop Outs

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High School Dropouts and the Social Structure

Thesis Statement:

" I believe that dropping out of school is the direct result of strain caused

by the economic/political institutions that are within the social structure".

The Social Structure is the housing for the social institutions: Politics, Economics, Mass Media, Groups/Organizations, Family, Education and Religion. What I plan to discuss in this research project is how economic and political institutions contribute to the cause of dropping out of school.

What is a Dropout? There are many definitions to the term, however the definition I will use pertains to education. A dropout is an individual who does not complete his or her education by earning a high school diploma. (Natrello 1986) Natrello explained this in his book " School Dropouts" that the average student who drops out does not return to finish his or her schooling. He went on to say that a person could drop out at any level of educational endeavor, however, for the sake of this discussion it will be on the high school level in particular. Natrello suggest that the average dropout has specific characteristics. I think that this can be explained even more extensively. A dropout is in some instances a person who is apathetic to the importance of education and excelling in school. The Dropout usually Has not desire to re-enter the educational system after they have left school.

We will start with the variable of age. The average age of the High School dropout is 16 (Gumper, David 1996). According to Gumper, the age of sixteen is important due to the fact that there are things that students can do that at younger ages they are not permitted by law. An example of this is entry into the work force at the age of 16 in compliance with state labor laws which permits all youths ages 16 to 17 to legally work 24 hours at any one establishment in a week. This substantially cuts the amount of study time they have. Many sixteen year-olds become sexually active (Gummier, David 1996). This opens the door for pregnancy and for the male student, who becomes a father, having to work a full time job to support his child. Due to pregnancy, the teen female may have to leave school at one time or another, and on many occasions cannot return to school due to the demands of childcare. The males who drop out to get jobs cannot get jobs with substantial wages due to the fact that they have no education. It is truly a double edge sword. These students are a larger group than one would think. These students on average make up 40% of the average urban High school population (Gumper,David 1996).

Today Latino students have the highest dropout rate. The reason for this has to do with first and foremost the language barrier ( Gumper, David 1996 ). Gumper had to say on the subject that it is frustrating to already have to grasp new concepts, but to not completely understand the language it is being taught in? Gumper found that these things could be avoided if the school districts hired some teachers who spoke fluent Spanish to make the transition from Spanish to English easier. These students need to be offered every resource that is available to increase their rate of success in obtaining their education. It is found that male students are far more likely to drop out than female students are. (Dentler, Robert 1965) Even with the variable of pregnancy, male students' dropout far more than females. The reason ranges from gang involvement to economic disparity. What is meant by economic disparity is when a family is so poor that perhaps the students have to work to help pay the bills. The most common answer given when males are asked why they dropped out of school is that they had to start working. A reason that is underlying and often is not admitted by male dropouts is illiteracy. Research clearly shows that female students are far less likely to be illiterate or have problems reading than...
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