Growing Trends in High School Drop-outs
One of the major concerns of education is the rate of students who are dropping out of school. Statistically, the dropout rate has decreased from a national average of 15 percent in 1972 to 10 percent in 2003, according to the National Center for Education Statistics, which rated 16-24 year olds (Child Trend, 2003). Though, there has been signs of a decrease, drop out rates continue to be a concern to the public because of the potential consequences and financial costs to the government. On the academic level, many schools are incapable of handling the new “faces” in the education realm. Thus, it forces many students to leave school without a diploma. The drop out rates appears to be an attribute of primarily bigger cities and districts that are composed of high minority enrollment. With the introduction of the No Child Left Behind Act, information about these schools is now available (Swanson, 2004). In order to curtail the rate of drop-outs, schools need more resources, better teachers, parent/community involvement, and financial means to accommodate their pupils so that these same students don’t end up being a greater financial risk to the public. There are plenty of examples of successful high school dropouts, such as Henry Ford and Albert Einstein. However, they remain to be exceptions. High school dropouts, including those who earn GEDs, earn less money than those who earn a high school diploma. One of the reasons is that they “tend to come from lower-income families than conventional high school graduates. Their parents were less likely to have completed high school” (Murnane & Tyler, 2000). It is difficult for parents who did not complete school to assist a child with his/her homework. Many have to work 2/3 jobs just to maintain food on the table, decreasing the amount of time that could be spent with one’s child. “Low-income parents are less likely to participate in their children’s education-a predictable outcome because of educational background, inadequate financial resources, and inadequate time” (Futrel & Rotberg, 2002). Children who come from these disadvantaged backgrounds are more likely to begin school ill prepared with less academic skills as students from affluent backgrounds. Secondly, low income communities are not equally staffed with the high level of quality teachers as those in higher income communities. Teachers in such district work with minimal resources and in poor infrastructures (Futrel & Rotberg, 2002). With being in such an uneven playing field, many students from poorer communities are likely to not complete school. High school dropouts typically lack the skills to obtain quality employment. Along with cognitive skills, high school dropouts lack employability and social skills that would make them more appealing in the work-force (Murnane & Tyler, 2000). Their jobs options and potential income are limited. Therefore, the government loses out on potential taxes in comparison the to higher income of high school graduates. One reason that high school dropouts and GED recipients earn less money than high school graduates is because they are less likely to pursue a college education or additional training. They also lack the financial resources to do so. The “GED examination does not guarantee mastery of the skills needed in college coursework” (Murnane & Tyler, 2000). High school graduates are more likely to have obtained college credits that would make them more attractive in the labor market. It is estimated that the government loses billions annually because of high school dropouts. A percentage of the money is spent on GED and job training programs. Job Corps is one such example. It receives 1.4 billion dollars a year for 60, 000 students, averaging over $23,000 per student (Job Corps). Most of the students are high school dropouts. Because high school dropouts earn less, they are also more likely to...
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