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Maggie's Portfolio

Persuasive Essay

High School Dropouts

            Across the nation, thousands of students drop out of school before they receive a high school diploma. This serious problem affects everyone, and high school dropout rates have been slowly increasing since the 1970’s. Why are high school students dropping out? There are several reasons for this, and there are several proposed solutions. By creating a night high school, we are giving students a chance to complete school and decrease dropout rates.

You make be asking yourself, why should I care? High school students are dropping out – so how does that affect me? It affects everyone in several ways. High school dropouts are very likely not to have the minimum skills necessary to work in today’s world. Dropouts are much more likely to be unemployed than graduates. What does this mean for us? It means that dropouts make up the majority of people on welfare and unemployment. It means that dropouts are living off your tax because they did not complete high school and cannot find jobs. Another way it affects us is in safety. The fact is that dropouts are more likely to be involved in crime, and they already make up more than half the prison population. By not completing high school, they live in poverty, and poverty drives people to steal. It affects the safety of all citizens across the nation. Now that you understand how dropouts affect you, no doubt you are wondering how you can help. But to find a solution, you must first understand the causes of the problem.

There are several reasons that students drop out of high school. They may not have liked school, or they may not have liked their teachers. They may have been failing classes, or not getting along with other students. Some may have had drug or alcohol problems, or they were suspended or expelled. Many became parents and suddenly had a family to support. However, the major reason for dropping out was not because they wanted to, but because they thought they had to, or were forced to. Studies from the NCHS (National Center for Health Statistics) show that for every two marriages there is one divorce. The rates are slowly rising as years go by. The link this has to dropout rates is that single parents have a much harder time supporting their children. Many older students felt it was their obligation to help support the family, and therefore got a job and dropped out of high school. Another major reason is that because many single parents worked most of the time, younger children and sometimes older relatives were left at home, and the older students felt it was their responsibility to take care of them. They dropped out of school and looked after younger or older relatives until their parents came home.

Many solutions have been proposed for these various reasons, and nearly all of them are created for a parents use. Simple ideas, such as helping with personal problems or helping to schedule work, family, and school obligations are some. More recent ones are to help find professional assistance or to find a GED (General Education Program) to receive an alternate high school diploma. However, all these solutions have a general problem – they involve parents. As mentioned before, high dropout rates are tied with divorce rates. Single parents work all day to support their families and do not have time to follow these solutions.

My solution is not an idea or suggestion, but a program that students can enroll in. Offer them a chance to fit high school into their schedules. Create a night high school teaching shorter and more understandable classes. Offer classes from five in the evening to midnight. Give little or no homework, and teach the basics that students will need to get by in the real world. This way, students can earn a quick diploma without having to dropout. They have time to work during the day and attend school at night. Or, if they were taking care of children or relatives, their parents would be home in the evening and they would be free to attend school at night. However, some people may oppose this solution. They would say it costs too much money to open a school at night and pay new teachers to teach late hours. But wouldn’t it cost much more to keep dropouts unemployed?

            Throughout the nation, high school dropout rates are becoming a problem. With the night high school solution we can offer classes that fit into the schedule of thousands of unfortunate teens. The current problem affects everyone, and if we all work together we can encourage schools to offer these classes and improve society. We can keep people off welfare and unemployment, as well as keep down the crime rates if we follow through with this solution.

Copyright (C). 2005. Maggie Escobedo. All Rights Reserved.