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High School Dropouts: Cause And Prevention

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Category: Social Issues

Autor: anton 01 April 2011

Words: 1714 | Pages: 7

High School Dropouts Outline

Thesis Statement: More and more students drop out each year. Those who dropped out have various reasons. The alarming rates of drop outs have led them to a bleak future wherein such incident requires the attention and immediate action of various school authorities.

a. Major factors for leaving school

• Was not motivated or inspired

• Classes were not interesting

• Missed too many days and could not catch up

• Spent time with people who were not interested in school

• Had too much freedom and not enough rules in life

• Was Failing in School

b. Characteristics of students who dropped out

• Socio-economic background

• Disabilities

• Race-ethnicities

• Academic factors

• Absenteeism

• Occupational aspirations

• Predictive factors

o Grade retention

o Poor academic performance

o Moves during high school

o High absenteeism

o Misbehavior

o Feeling of students that no adults care his or her welfare

b. Consequences of dropping out of school

• Earning potential which led to dropouts the possibility to lead a bleak future due to the possibility of them to have less chance for job employment. And when they did find job, they will have to suffer life on low-paying occupations as well as offering little opportunity for upward mobility. Dropping out and severely impairing a young person’s job prospects and earnings potential, in turn, causes other secondary, indirect problems:

 reliance on public assistance

 become single parents

 possibility to land in jail or prison

c. What dropouts believe could improve student’s chances

• Opportunities for real-world learning (internships, service learning, etc.) to make classroom relevant

• Better teacher who keep classes interesting

• Smaller classes with more individual instruction

• Better communication between parents and school

• Parents make sure their kids go to school everyday

• Increase supervision at school

Concluding Statement: Education is very imperative on the lives of people thus it is important to finish schooling in order to achieve one’s dreams and lead a better life.

High School Dropouts: Causes and Prevention

Education plays an important role in maintaining or transforming political and social structure (Anderson and Randall, 1999). It is a significant determinant of the distribution of income and wealth. However, despite its importance and significance that it gives to the life of students for their future, schools and educational organizations are faced with several education-related issues that really need to be addressed. One of these is the issue of high school dropouts.

Every year, the number of dropout students in high school has escalated and is now an urgent issue for educators (Haring, Klockas, Kortering, 1992). According to Rumberger (1987), this issue of students dropping out of school would blight their economic welfare as they grow up (Rumberger, 1987 pg. 101). Furthermore, major studies revealed that this also would result for students to have an austere outlook in their future lives (Edgar, 1987; Hess, 1986) and is also possible for them to have a hard time finding stable jobs and supporting their financial needs especially to those who already have their own family.

The term dropout pertains to any person who has dropped out of school or who has been dropped out of school (Haring, Klockars, and Kortering, 1992). There are many causes associated with high school drop outs. The U.S. Department of Education Statistics revealed in their studies that the reasons are due to various factors such as socio-economic backgrounds, disabilities, race ethnicity, academic factors, absenteeism, occupational aspirations, predictive factors caused by grade retention, poor academic performance, misbehavior, and the feeling that no adult cares for his or her welfare (

Students who have various personal problems are considered as the main cause especially to women. One of these personal related problems is marriage which is very stressful to any student because school would become their second priority due to heavy load that a married person has to deal with (Schwartz, 1995). Another personal related problem is jobs. Most students are working part-time in order to support themselves and their family which at times will lead to intrusion with school hours, home works, no time for studying especially to major exams and various school activities which otherwise leads to failing grade. Peer pressure is also another factor wherein these students are being led to bad influences such as drinking, drug which causes a major side effect to students (Schwartz, 1995). Schools do this in order to handle their problem. Students from broken homes are also likely to drop out of school due to the stressful situation that they have to go through and thus affect their concentration in school. Furthermore, most students who dropped out of school don’t like school to begin with. These students will rebel and do anything against the school rules in order to be kicked out (Schwartz, 1995). They are likely to fail on their subjects, doesn’t get along with other students, and have disciplinary problems. Oftentimes, disciplinary actions are taken before they are dropped out.

Various programs are being carried out by schools in order to reduce the rates of dropout and these programs are centered on maximizing school attendance and achievement and other educational-related outcomes (Fashola and Slavin, 1998). More often than not, these mechanisms are being utilized in combination or with various subgroups in the same schools. One way to prevent dropout is for school to grant students with superior quality school experiences to tackle on with the primary forerunners to dropout, low achievement, retention in grade, dislike of school and other various associated outcomes (Fashola and Slavin, 1998). Enhancing the performance of students is without a doubt a value in its own right. However, increasing school success is significant as a prevention strategy for dropout. Maximizing the quality and value of the high school curriculum is another obvious mechanism. Secondary whole-school reforms intended to improve the achievement and social development of adolescents would be expected to affect dropout rates as well.

Middle transition also contributes to the problem of dropout. This call for school administrators especially teachers to be made aware on the importance of middle school transition which is carried out through participation and cooperation in various transition programs to students (Mizelle, 1999). Additionally, the National Dropout Prevention Center has classified effective strategies that will help lessen the rate on dropouts ( The preventions strategies are as follows:

• Systemic renewal

• Professional development

• Early childhood education

• Alternative schooling

• Instructional technologies

• Service learning

• Conflict resolution

• Out-of-school experiences

• Community collaboration

• Family involvement

• Reading and writing programs

• Individualized instruction

• Mentoring/tutoring

• Learning style/multiple intelligences strategies

• Career education/workforce readiness

Resource: National Dropout Prevention Center

Importantly, it helps for schools to plan educational policies, in order to determine how the educational system is behaving. Good and correct statistics are essential to monitor and diagnose the problems of the educational system, allowing the planners to decide which kind of actions should be implemented to improve the system and also to find out if they are being effective. The recognition of the primary stumbling blocks and impediments to the success of a school is another way to prevent dropout. An example for such approach is providing students with small-group tutoring to aid them to pass the subject (Rumberger, 1987). Moreover, a periodic theme in various dropout prevention programs is through personalizing the high school experience for at-risk students, with a prospect that increasing attachments to valued adults in the school or giving students high-status roles in the school will trim down estrangement and dropout (Edgar, 1987). Various mentoring or counseling programs are built around this theme, as is engaging young adolescents in pro-social activities such as tutoring younger children or volunteering in nursing homes.

Giving students the sense of purpose for completing school in essence, makes the long-term consequences of high school completion and college attendance more apparent on a day-to-day basis. For example, many dropout prevention programs have a strong link to vocational education, part-time job placements, and internships in local businesses, both to maintain students' interest in school and to give them a clear picture of what life after school might be like and how a diploma helps in the real world (Hayward & Tallmadge, 1995). Similarly, many programs designed to increase school attendance which place students on campuses during the summer to give them a realistic idea of what life is like and a more concrete experience of a potential future. An important variant of this approach involves providing college scholarships to students who meet certain standards of performance in high school.

Importantly, one should be aware about the severe consequences should a student decide to drop out. Being a dropout will minimize the chance of job entry. But if they do, they will be stuck on low-paying jobs offering little opportunity for upward mobility. It will also cause secondary indirect problems especially when it comes to public assistance, have the prospect of becoming single parents, high risk for them to land in jails or prison, and the inability for them to live life the way they want it to be. One should take in mind that the reason a person studies is to have a better future, have stable job and achieve our dreams.


Alliance for Excellent Education (2007). The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools. Washington, DC: MetLife Foundation, January 2007

Anderson, J. and Randall, L. (1999). Schooling for Success: Preventing Repetition and Dropout in Latin American Primary Schools. Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, pg. 122

Bridgeland, J., Dilulio, J. and Morison, K. (2006). The Silent Epidemic: Perspectives of High School Dropouts. Civic Enterprises, March 2006

Edgar, E. (1987). Secondary programs in special education: Are many of them justifiable? Exceptional Children, 53, 555-56 1.

Fashola, O. and Slavin, R.(1998). Effective Dropout Prevention and College Attendance Programs for Students Placed at Risk. Journal of Education for Students Placed at Risk, Vol. 3, Issue 2, pg. 161

Haring, N., Klockars, A., and Kortering, L. (1992). The Identification of High-School Dropouts Identified as Learning Disabled: Evaluating the Utility of a Discriminant Analysis Function. Exceptional Children: Council for Exceptional Children, Vol. 58, Issue 5, pg. 422

Hess, A. (1986). Educational triage in an urban school. Metropolitan Education, ](2), 29-52.

Rumberger, R. (1987). High school dropouts: A review of issues and evidence. Review, of Educational Research, 57(2), 101-121.

Schwartz, W. (1995). School Dropout: New Information About an Old Problem. National Center For Education Statistics

Web Resources:

National Dropout Prevention Center and Network, Clemson, S.C. Taken from [] Accessed [3 February 2007]

U.S. Bureau of the Census. (2005). Educational attainment in the United States: 2005. Table 8.

Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office. Taken from

[] Accessed [5 February, 2007]

U.S. Department of Education, The Educational Resources Information Clearinghouse (ERIC), Identifying Potential Dropouts, ERIC Digest; School Dropouts, ERIC Digest #109; and Student Truancy, ERIC Digest #125. Taken from [] Accessed [3 February 2007]

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