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Teenager High School Drop Out Prevention

Teenager High School Drop Out Prevention

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Thoughts & Theories

What will it take to discourage High School teenagers from dropping out if High school? 

It seems to be an America proverb that "things get better after High School". I believe I have encountered only one person who has ever said he loved high school. Everyone else I have ever spoken to regarding high school or any discussion on what they thought of high school expressed they hated every minute of it and was thoroughly relieved to be out. Some graduated early just to escape, some completed all 4 years and others simply dropped out because high school was so intolerable.

However, why does it have to be this way? What's the problem with American High Schools where more and more teens are feeling that it's better to risk the real world than to continue on with their education?

Foreword by President George W. Bush the first statement is: Bipartisan education reform will be the cornerstone of my Administration.

Every day and for the last few years, more and more teenagers are rapidly becoming High School Drop Outs and are being left behind. Once left behind these teenagers are disappearing from that equation until they become anther static of anther community and society ill of current being.

Dropouts are more likely than other citizens to draw on welfare and other social programs throughout their lives.

The activities of high-risk behaviors such as premature sexual activity, early pregnancy, delinquency, crime, violence, alcohol and drug abuse, and suicide has been found to be significantly higher among dropouts.

Public schools are a basic right for every child in the United States and yet the education being provided is not meeting the every day necessities for a successful future in college let alone for their professional and personal lives. The number of Americans filing for bankruptcy jumped 30% in 2005. It was the largest number of bankruptcy petitions ever filed in any 12-month period in the history of the federal courts, according to the office, which collects information for the federal judiciary. I would be interested to know how many of these filings were by High School Drop Outs. Day to day living economics is not part of a high school curriculum and it should be. Several career industries have made credit checks part of their job application. If an applicant has negative credit, the candidate does not make it past stage 1.

Furthermore, the United States loses approximately $192 billion / 1.6% of its current gross domestic product in combined income and tax-revenue losses with each group of 18-year-olds who never complete high school. As the murky swamp of dropouts continues to grow, employment opportunities for them are becoming more and more limiting. Today's economy requires increased literacy, more education, enhanced technological skills, and continued lifelong learning.

How do we slow down the avalanche of teenager self destruction?

The National Educational Association's ambitious 12 step goal includes the following:

  1. Mandate high school graduation or equivalency for everyone below the age of 21
  2. Establish high school graduation centers for students 19-21 years old
  3. Make sure students receive individual attention
  4. Expand students graduation options
  5. Increase career education and workforce readiness programs in schools
  6. Act early so students do not drop out
  7. Involve families in students learning at school and at home
  8. Monitor students academic progress in school
  9. Monitor, accurately report, and work to reduce dropout rates
  10. Involve the entire community in dropout prevention
  11. Make sure educators have the training and resources they need to prevent students from dropping out
  12. Make high school graduation a federal priority

Elaine Allensworth, associate director for statistical analysis at the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the University of Chicago expressed her views during a July 6 online chat sponsored by Education Week. "We can't fix every problem at once. What we can do is identify those students who are struggling right away, in the freshman year, and help them develop strategies to improve their academic performance."

To reduce the drop out rate, new programs are constantly being sought and experimented with. Some of the programs are showing significant results. Among the most noteworthy is a readiness program run by the College of Education at Northern Arizona University in a state whose graduation rate is just below 70%. The program identifies seventh-grade classrooms in high poverty and high minority areas and sticks with students until they graduate High School.

In Indiana, House Bill 1347, enacted by the 2006 legislature, forces high schools to report annually the number of freshmen not earning enough credits to become sophomores, a first step toward identifying those at highest risk of dropping out.

Online, I found the website for KDE Dropout Prevention Resource Guide. One of the resources is the Student Needs Search Tool which is a questionnaire regarding specific students a teacher would be concerned about. I took the test in the view of a teacher and based my answers on what I was like as a high school student - I hated High School for several reasons too long to go into to.

The submitted results returned several different articles. However, most of the articles were for elementary and middle school prevention of the future. It's great there are several articles but if I were a high school teacher looking to help a specific student, I would need help for the now... unless they have a resource guide to make a time machine.

In their list of recommended articles I chose to view the strategies of Core Strategies - Service Learning - High School. However, the page didn't load and neither did 3 others I tried. {insert irony here}. Many websites have problems and maybe this day was just an off day. The articles themselves are well thought out and provide further insight to the drop out problems.

However, the strategy outlines left me (as a non teacher) feeling that education is still trying to fit all "problem" students in a set of educational Tupperware mold bowls and hoping the answer sticks.

Metropolitan Montreal (dropout rates reach 35% in some schools), Operation Back to School - Sends professionals from various industries, including academic, into high school classrooms to drive home the value of an education.

Richard Roy, a Operation Back to School volunteer and professor of biology and science says that without a wide variety of new, well-trained and diverse people coming into science, research and technology will suffer in Canada. The same has been said in America. Unless educators, parents, community leaders and society in general can find ways to discourage dropping out, we are going to suffer as a nation.

The question that should be asked is: Is High School really the problem or is it America's Educational system as a whole? I would like to insert one more questionable theory into the equation and I believe it may not be a popular one.

Could it be both our faults as members of society as well as the educational system?

I've met many parents who do not have a high amount of concern for their child's education let alone their growth as future members of the community. They are more angry at the color of they're child's hair than the grade on their report card. This group is indeed in (my opinion) the minority, but it does exist and these kids are part of the influence that may be attacking the possible success of other students.

Parent involvement as described by the National Education Association is

  • Reading to your child
  • Checking homework every night
  • Discussing your children's progress with teachers
  • Voting in school board elections
  • Helping your school to set challenging academic standards
  • Limiting TV viewing on school nights
  • Becoming an advocate for better education in your community and state.

Easier said than done. Most if not the majority of family households are two income families with demanding jobs and careers. For the single parent, it's a one income household filled with a the responsibilities of family, career, life necessities, personal stress relief and condemnation from both two parent families and single non parent adults.

In order to diminish the rapidly growing numbers of high school drop outs, everyone's preconceived notion of what does or does not work needs to be re-evaluated and discussed with each other. Just as a family can not have two different set of rules for their child, the same is true for the education. Parents and teachers need to work together and regardless of their different and non-mutually agreeable views, they need to come to a compromise and set rules and standards for each child.

There are options in today's advanced society. If one path does not work, try anther option.

Modern day technology has made online education flexible and accessible. However, in our current day, online education is widely accepted as being just as valuable as the face to face physical classroom experience. For the last 8 years+, universities and colleges have been combining multiple aspects of online websites and web interactivity with quality education. Can we be truly surprised that high schools are now following in they're footsteps? With the current public school drop out epidemic, online learning certainly looks like the positive wave of the future and should be seriously considered.



  1. Mrs

    I have a 15year old, who like school and would like to go to college but because no one like her at school, and her tone of voice seems rude. She hate to go. I am trying to motive her to stay in school and work on her tone of voice. Any ideal please share.
    Thank you,

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