As education is becoming more essential and the level of illiteracy is reducing due to technology and high demanding job markets, it is not a guarantee that the American Education System will be exempted from facing some of the challenges that come along with the increasing demands for it. Even though the education system is facing several challenges today, there is one major challenge that has been reported in most of the training institutes. It is the fact that most students are not ready to complete their education and thus they drop out before even graduating from high school. ‘Dropouts’ as the name suggests, is a term that is commonly used to refer to those students who for one reason or another terminate their studies before attaining the specified award for that level of education. Several reasons and causes have come up that are believed to have contributed towards students dropping out of school. As we all know that there is no action without consequences, there are several observable effects that do not only affect the dropouts per se, but the society at large. Thus, this paper is aimed to look at the causes and effects of dropping out of high school, why students decide to drop out of school and how this decision affects their lives and the society at large.
As I have already mentioned that there are several reasons that are associated with the high rates of students dropping out of school today, some of commonly known include poor parenting, peer pressure, life style, social background and parental misguidance among others (Randall and Anderson14). Poor parenting has been considered to be the greatest challenge that causes students to drop out. For instance, students that come from divorced parents, single parents and abusive parents are more likely to leave school before graduating than those that come from socially secure families. Divorced and/or single parents face high chances to fail covering school fees, something that my have a psychological effect on students (Huston). Once the psychology is affected, students’ performance falls, and they feel wasted until they are asked to retake a course. Poorly parented students may also leave school so they can raise some money to provide for their families. Abusive parents on the other hand affect their children’s performance in school by not giving them the love and trust as other parents do. Such children, therefore, become depressed and most of them end up running away from home to escape their parents’ bad behavior.
Peer pressure is also another factor that causes students drop out of school. Most students in the same age brackets tend to have several things in common and will try as much as they can to share ideas, both good and bad. Some of the bad ideas that are forcibly put on by peers include use of drug and violence. Young people who do drugs perform poorly in school. At the same time, drug use is prohibited in most schools world wide, thus students who engage in substance abuse are therefore automatically kicked out of school (Randall and Anderson). Violence such as bullying and fights have made students become less interested in school and when this is not well-addressed in school, then the affected students tend to drift away and finally drop out.
Another factor is life style. As life style changes with time, most students have the mentality that they are better accepted in the society when they drive expensive cars, dressed in superior clothes and display some ostentatious lives (Haley 33). Thus those students whose parents are incapable of meeting such standards feel misplaced and can not stand this agony, particularly when they study with well off students in the long run they drop out of school.
Social background and parental misguidance are also factors widely known to contribute to the increased number of school dropouts. Social background and parental guidance matter a great deal in determining whether a student will complete a certain education level or not. For instance, parents who dropped out of school are likely to bring up school dropouts compared to parents who had completed school. This happens because dropout parents are more likely to lack school fees due to unemployment and/or low income thus forcing their children to drop out of school (Fafchamps 36). At the same time, dropout parents do not experience the urgency and importance of education thus they do not value it, thus do not put emphasis on the importance of education to their children. Meanwhile, parental misguidance is also becoming a contributing factor towards dropping out of school. There are families that have lived good lives without relaying on education. Such families do not believe that education is the only path to good living and thus they also do not accentuate the need of education for their children (Haley 34). When this happens, students are at their own liability to choose whether to complete or drop out of school.
Other causes, even though are less common, also make an impact and include early pregnancies, environmental and social changes, teacher-student relationship and students’ attitudes. Even though this is not common in most states of America, girls that get pregnant while still in high school are forced to drop out so as to take care of their children. Despite the fact that the education system gives them the chance to go back and continue their education, most of them do not do so due to stigma from the society and fellow students. Abrupt changes in social and environmental settings also affect students’ performance and in the long run it can cause student to drop out of school (Randall and Anderson). Changes such as the loss of a parent or a care-giver who was responsible for paying school fees, as well as changes in the school environment due to transfers, may also result in the high school dropouts.
Teacher-student relationship also matters a great deal when it comes to whether the student will complete high school or not. Students tend to percept teachers as their own parents and will believe in everything they are told by their teachers. Nevertheless, if these two people are not in good terms, then there are high chances of the student trying to avoid the teacher particularly if they hold an argument. Teachers who discourage students by telling them that they are good for nothing and that nothing special can come out of their heads also plays a role in making them to hate school (Haley 33). Harsh punishments given by teachers to the students may also send a different message and interpreted differently by students with low affinity to school. Thus teachers have to be very careful in handling students since they come from different backgrounds.
On the other hand, there are students who will drop out of high school because of negative attitude towards the school or certain subjects offered in the school (Randall and Anderson). For instance, there are students who will simply do not go to certain schools because they are traditional schools or because they are not within big cities. Not because such schools do not perform well: it is the students’ conscious that tells them such school belongs to a group of low social standards thus they do not want to be associated with such schools. Therefore students who find themselves in such situations may end up dropping out so as to protect their self-image.
As there are numerous causes for dropping out of school, one can find an uncountable number of its consequences. Some of the commonly highlighted consequences of dropping out of school include unemployment, unhealthy living, poverty, single parenting, divorce, drug abuse, violence, and the worst is being dependant on governmental support to survive. Even though school dropping out mainly affects those individuals,it also in one way or another affects the society and the government at large (Gordon 274). This is because a nation is said to suffer if its general population can not meet the average needs. However, consequences of dropping out are more felt by the individuals than the society. For this reason, this discussion will first tackle the effects that concern the lives of the individual drop outs before undertaking those that impinge on the society.
With the high rate of so many societies embracing technology and the high growing job market, employers have found need in hiring employees who are competent enough to meet the market demands as they contribute to the social dynamics. Therefore, this calls for super intellects with good sense of education. With such competition, chances of dropouts finding employment are reduced and most of them remain unemployed (Schreiber 117). In the mean time, high school dropouts that get employed will end up earning little compared to their counterparts who graduated. This automatically means that they are likely to live in poverty in the sense that they can only acquire minimum social amenities for their survival compared to the graduates. For example, they will be forced to live in cheaper houses, send their children to less expensive schools and eat unhealthy food.
As mentioned earlier that one of the causes for dropping out of school is early pregnancies, its repercussion turns out to be single parenting. Most girls who drop out of school due to early pregnancies end up bringing up their children by themselves since in most cases fathers of those children are also young boys who can barely provide for the newborns. Thus girls are left to bring up their young ones by themselves, something that is not accepted by society. Statistics shows that most of the divorce cases come from families with poor education backgrounds (Huston 90). This may be because understanding of each other is very low or because they can not provide for their families and hence they tend to run away from reality.
Drug abuse and violence have also been reported to be high in cities/ places where a bigger percentage of the population is illiterate. Due to lack of employment, idleness drives young people into venture activities that ruin social norms. Among these activities is drug abuse, which comes hand in hand with violence like robbery and general misconduct (Gordon 274). This therefore, affects not only the individuals but the society as well since it is the public who is robbed and even get injured in cases where the robbers are armed. Still the worst outcome is that criminals end up in jail, thus mandating the government to feed them while there.
As the above effects point directly to the individual dropouts, they indirectly affect the society and the government as well. For instance, when we have so many people living in poverty due to low income, as a result of people dropping out of school, then it means that the society has to raise some more money through taxation so as to enable the government to fund their housing, hospital and education bills and other basic necessities (Gordon 274). Unemployment also lowers the nation’s gross income, something that government has to put up with for years, particularly in the economic crisis period.
In conclusion, it is very clear that education is the strength of character of any individual and society and lack of it yields the worst results. Since there is no shortcut to life, the world we live in today fevers those that are ready to face the education challenge and emerge the suitable supermen for the fast evolving job market. Consequently, those who are not competent enough due to not graduating from school end up living despondent lives, and burdening the society to provide some basic necessities such as accommodation and health amenities. Besides, they are the very same people who will engage in blasphemous behaviors such as drug abuse and violence. Accordingly, it is only wise if students are encouraged to graduation from high schools since it is the only way they are guaranteed to live better lives.