How High School Dropouts Affect American Society

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The dropout problem is not only an individual problem, but it is costly to society as a whole. Warren & Halpen-Manners (2007) explained, “high school dropouts is of fundamental social, economic, and political importance and has major implications for educational policy and practice, patterns of economic and racial/ethnic inequality, and the quality of America’s workforce” (p. 335). Coupled with that, Neild et al (2008) further argued going through the portal into adult life without high school credentials carries severe economic and employment penalties. Also, Kennelly (2007) explained “When students drop out…. the toll of the quality of life and the prosperity and competitiveness of the communities where they live and collectively across the nation is significant” (p.4). If the nation fails to educate the future leaders, the entire nation’s well being is at risk (Kennelly, 2007). According to Esch (2003), high school graduates earn on average about 70 percent more than dropouts. To put it in perspective, with around four million ninth graders in the 2003-04 academic year, a little over one million dropped out of the graduating the class of 2007. This represents over 325 billion dollars in total lifetime additional income if these students were to graduate (AEE, 2007). With limited education, high school dropouts can find it challenging to become employable. Although over the past few decades high school graduates have made economic gains, there are still a number of individuals that are not part of the work force. High school dropouts have been found to have an adverse impact on the nation’s workforce. Kaufman (1999) explained, “So many advances in technology has fueled a demand for a highly skilled labor force; so, high school... ... middle of paper ... ...vember 21, 2009, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. (Publication No. AAT 3177640). Wells, S.E. (1990). At-risk youth: identification, programs, and recommendations. Englewood, CA: Teacher Idea Press. Whitehouse Social Statistics Briefing Room (2005). National Center for Educational Statistics U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved March 6, 2009 from Whitehouse Social Statistics Briefing Room (2009). Remarks of President Barack Obama – As Prepared for Delivery Address to Joint Session of Congress. Retrieved March 6, 2009 from Wolters, A. (2008). Alternative learning programs: Student perceptions. Retrieved May 5, 2010, from Dissertations & Theses: Full Text. (Publication No. AAT 3312912).

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