Every year roughly 1.2 million students drop out of high school, that’s 7000 students a day, or 1 student every 26 seconds (“US Census Bureau”), that’s about how long it would take for you to tie your shoes or even to peel an orange. Crazy, right? Did you know in many states the high school dropout age is as low as 16 years old? The high school dropout eligibility should be lifted in all states, and every student should be required to attend school, up until they graduate from high school.It’s hard to believe that over 75% of crimes in the United States are committed by high school dropouts (Curley).
Just imagine the rate of crime that would decrease if many of these students had made the decision to stay in school. According to researchers, “a 10 percentage-point increase in graduation rates has historically reduced murder and assault rates by approximately 20 percent (Curley) In other words, increasing graduation rates by 10% would prevent over 3,000 murders and 170,000 aggravated assaults in America each year (“School or the Streets: Crime and America’s Dropout Crisis”). By increasing these rates, we could save thousands of lives and prevent many assaults that would otherwise occur each year. Furthermore, enacting legislation to remove the eligibility for students to drop off will cause a dramatic decrease in crime throughout the United States.The next point I would like to mention is that over 90% of US jobs require a high school diploma or a GED (“Recovery 2”). Studies prove that an individual with a high school diploma, on average, over their lifetime will earn $260,000 more than a person without it. Of the total amount of people unemployed, 32% are high school dropouts, compared to a 13% that did receive a high school diploma or a GED (Kearney).
In 2016, according to the U.S Census Bureau, “average earnings of individuals who had not graduated from high school were about 20,241 U.S. dollars annually, compared to 30,627 dollars among high school graduates and 56,665 dollars among those with a Bachelor’s degree”.
An additional fact to point out is the direct correlation between high school dropouts and poverty. Dropouts experience a 31% poverty rate, opposed to a 13% poverty rate of those who have received a diploma or GED (Kearney). Russell Rumberger from the American Psychological Institution revealed that “poor students”, meaning the bottom 20% of family incomes, are 5 times more likely to drop out of high school compared to wealthier students (top 20% of family incomes) (Rumberger).
While poverty can be directly linked to dropouts, poverty associated with schools and communities are directly correlated to the dropout crisis. To prove this, statistics show that 50% of High School dropouts stem from only 12% of our schools in America (Rumberger).Although some may say it is sometimes necessary for students to drop out in order to care for their families or attend to personal matters, there is no denying the fact that the problems associated with high school dropouts trump the problems that may cause those dropouts to occur in the first place.Once again, I would like to emphasize the problems that high school dropouts may be more likely to encounter throughout their life compared to others that decide to pursue their education through high school. These problems include poverty, job insecurity, adverse health conditions such as mental illnesses, crime, and many other devastating effects.
If only we could avoid these issues we could be subject to a better world to live in for now and for generations to come.