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Dropping Out : The New High School Epidemic

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Dropping Out: The New High School Epidemic

The number of high school dropouts has remained at an amazingly high 381,000 students per year, since 1993. During high school students prepare for college, a huge move toward independence and adulthood. But some students believe they have found a quicker, easier approach towards adulthood without attending college: dropping out. According to estimates, nearly one in every three public school students does not graduate from high school. Dropouts earned an average of less than $13,000 in 1992; less than a third of the salary of students who graduate from high school (Schwartz). The high dropout rate often traces back to one's surroundings and the U.S. high school system's education philosophy, which often bases its system on what colleges demand.

A student's surrounding is a major factor in ones decision to drop out. First, one of the key factors behind the decision to dropout lies with the parents; in fact many of the students who have dropped out had come from a turbulent and low-income family. (Schwartz). Ryan Tindle, a Shelbyville High School dropout, remarked in an article for Time magazine, "My family always thought I was going to be worthlessÐ'..." He found no motivation or support from his parents; as a result he dropped out of school. Students like Tindle often express not being cared for at home by not caring in school. Second, many parents of dropouts often dropped out themselves, and so they indirectly encouraged their children to do the same. Although lack of parental encouragement plays a big role in high school drop outs, many other reasons also affect whether a student decides to drop out or not. Third, Teachers, interact with their students daily, therefore must carry part of the blame. Teachers are supposed to help lead students to success, but some can be found doing just the opposite. "Why don't you quit school?" an administrator told 15-year old Sarah Miller, who followed the bad advice later that school year (Thornburgh). Between controlling classes and teaching a curriculum, teachers face enough trouble in school without having to deal with the more troubled students. Teachers take refuge and befriend the good, friendly students: meanwhile they treat the troublemakers harshly and avoid them. Teachers would rather rid themselves of a bad student than waste their limited time and energy working with them and helping them in classes where they struggle. The lack of encouragement and often hostility misbehaving students receive from teachers often leads students to leave school. Following this trend, classmates and the environment of a school can also contribute to motivation. Fourth, A school with little spirit and pride will make students feel less bound to the school, and makes dropping out much easier (Kantrowitz). Often, dropouts don't fit in, and have few if any friends at all. Classmates or peers who dropout or have low grades may cause some students to think of dropping out as okay, thus cause them to later do so as well. Shawn Sturgill, whose clique of a dozen friends dwindled to a few, is a good example. Although lack of encouragement plays a significant role, the high school administrators basing much of their curriculum on what colleges expect to see has a huge impact on the drop-out rates as well (Shwartz).

College expectations for incoming freshman have begun to dictate what schools educate and how they teach it; therefore, cause many students to drop out. First,



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