American Dropout Crisis

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Jenifer McKee May 15, 2011 English Comp II Lehman The American Dropout Crisis The United States is facing a high school dropout rate of epidemic proportions. One-third of public school students fail to graduate from high school (Bridgeland, 2006). One high school student drops out every nine seconds, so before you have completed reading this essay over 100 students will have dropped out of school (Bridgeland, 2006). While this epidemic seems insurmountable, it provides an opportunity to make changes needed to our educational system. With many ideas and proposed changes presented to legislators and educators nationwide, one of the changes proposed by many states in raising the compulsory school attendance age or more directly the…show more content…
Students who drop out often have many factors that influence their decision. Research shows that key factors for students who are at highest risk of dropping out are: poor grades in core classes, low or poor attendance, failure to be promoted to the next grade, disengagement in the classroom, and behavioral problems (Kennelly, 2007). Student boredom, lack of challenging material, and disengagement due to lack of academic rigor have also been identified as indicators of academic failure. In recent years; the legislation of No Child Left Behind Act has contributed to a situation in which educators are caught between a rock and a hard place. Knowing that students are a greater risk of dropping out when they perform poorly in school, yet increased rigor in the classroom as a strategy to decrease the dropout rate, as identified in the No Child Left Behind Act has created a “Catch-22” situation for educators (Bridgeland J. D., 2009). However, the number one reason given by the National Center for School Engagement as to why students drop out is not standard based system or high academic rigor but boredom and a lack of connection to real life (Diplomas Count: Ready for What? Preparing Students for for College, Careers and Life after High School, 2007). Personal experience shows these all to be true. An all too…show more content…
In the United States a high school graduate earns 43% more than someone without a diploma, a college graduate earns 150% or one and half times more. Earning potential is low for dropouts, but the prospect of employment is not guaranteed, the unemployment rate for dropouts is 63% higher than it is for graduates according to the Bureau of Labor statistics (Statistics, 2007). Educators are aware that dropouts are more likely to be unemployed, earn lower wages, engage in criminal activity, have a higher need for public assistance, be single parents and have children at a younger age. An estimated 75% of state prison inmates and 59% of federal inmates are dropouts, and raising the graduation rate by one percent the U.S. would save $1.4 billion annually in cost related to crime and criminal activity, according to U.S Department of Justice (Justice, 2002). Raising the graduation rate is an objective that educators, legislators, parents, students, employers and all community members must be vigilant in
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