One of the proudest moments of life is walking across the stage receiving a high school diploma. However, approximately 1. 2 million high school students fail to graduate each year.
Three out of 10 tenth-grade students in American schools do not graduate. About 20 percent of the drop-outs are white or Asian while 45 percent are blacks and Hispanics (Gales). One of the biggest debates regarding the mandatory dropout age is deciding whether it should be raised or kept the same. Eleven states have set the drop out age at 17, while 19 states allow students to leave school at age 16 (Gales).This paper will show why it is beneficial to raise the age a student can make the decision to drop out of high school to 18.
Why should a child be allowed to dropout at 16 when they are not eligible to vote or join the military? Teens in South Carolina can’t buy cigarettes, alcohol, or even a lottery ticket until they are 18 but can make a life changing decision to drop out of school while still considered a child. If students are aware of how valuable education is, maybe they will realize that dropping out isn’t a smart choice.Every day 7,000 teenagers become high school dropouts while 30% of students in the U. S fail to graduate on time each year (“Get Involved with Choices as an Individual Donor”). The implications of dropping out of high school are enormous, including a higher risk of poverty and a shortened lifespan. The person who has dropped out of school has a tendency to be employed in a low income job. These are the people who look forward to government resources.
A person’s future is more guaranteed when he or she is educated. They can be anything in life if they are educated.Without education a person’s aspirations in life could be limited. According to research, a high school graduate will earn an average of $7,480 more a year than a high school dropout (Pou). “Few, if any, 16 year olds have the wisdom and knowledge to understand the lifelong consequences of ending their high school education,” said State Representative Martha Walz of Boston (“What should the high school dropout age be? ”). In January 2012, the president gave his annual State of The Union address to congress, regarding education in America.
The president said that “all states should require all students to stay in school until they graduate or turn 18. ” (Jacobs) This will encourage students to finish school. At eighteen, a student should be a senior and ready to graduate. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill would increase the dropout age initially to 17 and ultimately to 18 (Zapana and Wagner). There are so many benefits to a high school diploma. Living in poverty exposes individuals to health risks, higher rates of crime and a lower quality of living.Additionally, more high school dropouts are from minority groups.
Helping to increase the number of students who graduate also has an economic benefit because the higher earning potential of students who graduate from high school and college contributes greatly to a successful economy (Richards). The opposing side may argue “why keep the students in school if they do not want to be there? ” Most teens want to be in school but outside influences and a lack of motivation contribute to the reasons students give for dropping out of school.Becoming a teenage parent, needing to take care of a family member, getting a job to help the family financially, and academic challenges are the most popular drop out reasons (“The Reasons Students Give for dropping out”). Educational authorities need to work closely with parents to monitor attendance. They need to follow up and determine the reasons for a student’s absence. Schools also need social workers who can respond to family problems. Twenty states already require kids to stay in school until age 18, including California (Wolfgang, “Mandating school until 18 has pitfalls”).In some states, parents can be fined for not pushing their children to attend school; in others, kids ages 16 and 17 may not be able to get a driver’s license if it is found they do not attend school, according to a 2009 report by the Massachusetts-based Rennie Center for Education Research and Policy.
“While schools report illegal dropouts to social service agencies, little can be done to force teenagers back to school. ” (Riede). A second approach is to implement changes in the curriculum so that school is more interesting for students at risk of dropping out.
This could mean new methods of teaching or new subjects and facilities in the school. Thirdly, some financial assistance could help to encourage students with financial problems to stay in school. When students aren’t allowed to walk away from their education, more of them walk across the stage to get their diploma,” Obama said in the State of the Union Address (Jacobs). Plain and simple, by keeping kids in school longer, they will be more likely to complete their degree.We support seeing kids stay in school and graduating and believe that more kids are going to get their diploma,” said Matt Vanover, spokesman for the Illinois State Board of Education (Rezin).
Sixteen year-olds without a high school diploma are not going to find a good job in today’s society. Eighteen is a more reasonable age for teens and their parents to make a life decision. Raising the drop-out age to 18 will put pressure on parents and schools to not let kids give up too early because education does matter.