Statistics by the National Center for Education Statistics show that only about 60% of students who get enrolled in over 2000 high schools across the US get to complete their education. On average, one out of four students who get enrolled in the US high schools does not get to complete their studies. Such a rate of dropping out of school by the teenagers and college students is so high and alarming. Although the solutions to the causes are being looked for, it will be, for a long time, hard to find the answers if the causes are not well identified. Some of these causes are social and they include bullying at schools, drugs and substance abuse, and teacher problems. On the other hand, there are also, personal problems that may lead one to drop out of school. These personal reasons include failure in class and academics, early and unwanted pregnancies, financial issues, and parenting problems and issues. Students dropping out of school can be a hit to the economy and the society in general since many gangsters come from such grounds. However, with solutions like rehab centers, teacher-parent corporations, and enforcing of certain rules at school, the rate at which students drop out of school can be reduced to a rate that can be managed by the government. This essay aims at looking at these causes and coming up with solutions that can help curb the problem of students dropping out of school.
Causes for School Dropout
The first social factor that leads to students dropping out of schools is the high levels of severe bullying in the learning institutions. Bullying is an unwanted rude behavior that is often characterized by power imbalance between people. There are various types of bullying, and they include physical, verbal, and relational. A recent survey by Kearny, shows that in the United States, at least one child in every four is bullied in a certain way or the other. The survey further goes on and states that teenagers from the sixth to the tenth grade are the most affected by the bullying habits. Verbal bullying is the most common type of bullying, with around 77% of all students report to have been verbally bullied in their lives when at school. However, severe bullying has its consequences. In some cases, students have ended up committing suicide when bullied at school. For those who are lucky enough for not being suicidal, they end up dropping out of school due to the fear for their lives and the unfriendly environment at school.
The other social factor is drug and substance use and abuse. It is well known that the use of alcohol and drugs has negative impacts on the lives and the academic progress of students. This use leads to a drop in the class performance, withdrawal from friendships and other relationships, loss of energy, and in severe cases, dropping out of school. Various drugs have various impacts on the user. For example, using marijuana makes one suffer from short-time memory loss, and affects the critical thinking of the individual. On the other hand, the use of steroids may boost one’s performance in the sports field, but also lead the user into having anger problems. However, of all the substance and drugs used by students, alcohol has the gravest effects due to its availability. Alcohol, according to Sabates leads to an increase in the chances of the user to drop out of school. Students who practice the use of alcohol are five times more likely to drop out of school, as compared to their counterparts who don’t take alcohol. Cavell, notes that in American colleges, statistics show that 28% of drop out cases are as a result of alcohol use and abuse, while 40% of academic problems are brought about by the use of the same.
Teachers play an important role when it comes to the education of a student. Also, these teachers are the ones who are needed to make the students feel safe at school since they are the pillar and the one students can run to when cornered by a problem. It is advised that teachers offer the support students need at school, because their support is crucial in ensuring that the social lives of the students are well taken care of. When a student’s social and educational needs are taken care of, they tend to concentrate more in their academics, and this will consequently lead to employment of the student in the future. However, this is not always the case. Reports indicate that some teachers are hostile to some students. Dube, makes a point that this harshness and hostility mostly comes from racial differences. As a result, the affected students fear socializing with their teachers and end up keeping much of the problems they face to themselves. When this habit becomes normal to the student, they will see no need of staying at school, since no one is ever there for them when they need someone. When they turn to the harsh teacher and all they get are insults and being ignored, the students will then resort to dropping out of school in order to feel safe and away from the adults who dislike them.
Also, apart from the social factors, there are also some other factors that lead to students dropping out of school. These factors are personal. By personal, according to Schargel, what is meant is “what a student cannot talk about openly with just anyone, apart from, someone they trust”. These factors as earlier mentioned include failing in class, unplanned pregnancies, financial issues, and parent issues.
Among the personal reasons that can lead to school dropout is early or unwanted pregnancies. Doll et al. notes that within the last one year, there have been 1.3 million cases of students dropping out of school. Most of these students comprise Blacks, and Hispanics who are, in most cases, poor. However, of these students, according to Doll et al., 30% of the total number of girls who dropped out of school cite pregnancy as the main reason for them leaving school. Statistically, only 50% of teen mothers have a high school diploma. This percentage is lower as compared to the 89% of the teenagers who have never given birth as teens. The case worsens when the youngest mothers are mentioned. Research conducted by Doll et al, shows that only 38% of teen moms who got their children when under 18 years of age own a high school diploma. Also, these moms do not get their college degrees. Further research shows that only 2% of these moms who gave birth when under the age of 18 years end up getting any college degree, that is according to Freeman et al. But what leads to this case? When interviewed, most of these girls stated that it was hard for them to balance between parenthood and education. Most of them stated that they had to give up one of the two, and they chose to forego education.
Another personal reason for dropping out of school among the teens is the problem of class and academic struggles. In the university or a college, one has to attain a certain GPA and credits before they are allowed to graduate. Without these credits, a student will have to repeat the required lessons and units/subjects before they are allowed to graduate. To some high school students, they cannot want to fail because it will mean they attend summer school, or repeat the class. This is an easy process for many students. However, there is that lot of students who struggle with class and academic works in general. These are the students who fail CAT after CAT and exams after exams. To them, they know that attaining the required GPA and credits is a hard task. When these students start feeling like school is just but a burden to them, and that they can do something better with their lives rather than being in school, they opt to drop out of school. Statistics show that in every 12 drop outs, 3 of them dropped out of school due to the academic struggle. When calculated by Scharge et al., this research equates 25% of drop out cases are as a result of educational struggles among teens and college students.
In the United States of America, there are various reasons as to why students drop out of school. Financial issues and problems is one of the reasons that push may students to the point of dropping out of school. It is obvious to see a group of adults breaking their back doing hard labour jobs at construction sites in order to get some money to support their families. To these children, being in school can be termed as a luxury. Why? Because being in school seems to bare no fruits at all, and that is why they choose to work at these sites and selling burgers and cleaning toilets in order to get the money for their families’ survival. Statistics given by Fernández-Suárez et al., shows that 30% of the drop out students aged between 16 and 18 years work in a variety of jobs. In many cases, these jobs are always those that require low-skills and pay an approximate of $9,500 annually. Most of these children are Hispanics or a first generation of an immigration family. These children may want to be in school, however, they need to work their backs off in order to support their families.
Insufficient or lack of parental support is also another reason for drop out cases in the present day world. This lack or insufficient support from parents is one of the main reasons that lead to an increased rate in the drop out from schools by teenagers. When it comes to students attending schools, parents play a very big role in ensuring that their children stay in school. In many cases, according to Sabates where drop out teenagers were interrogated, it was evident that these children have parents who are less concerned with their education and academic success. From the interrogation, it also found that students obeyed their parents more if the parents showed honest interest of what they ask of their children. If a parent shows no interest in the educational life of their children by at least checking to see if they have done their assignments, or keep communication with the administration, the child may as well, as the parent, see no need to stay in school. Sabates goes on and further states that if parents do not prioritize their children’s education, the child may make a decision and drop out of school.
As stated earlier, one of the main reasons that make children drop out of school is the high levels of bullying in schools. This scenario has to change. Bullying in schools need to stop. However, what can be done to reduce the levels of bullying at schools is the question. The best way to ensure that the act is stopped in schools is by introducing rules and teachers setting expectations among their students. Setting a minimum of five rules that cover a broader spectrum will let kids know that their behaviour is watched, and that they are not allowed to look down or bull any other whatsoever.
The other social cause of dropping out of school among teenagers and college students is the use of drugs and other substances. Although it is hard to restrict students from accessing these drugs and alcohol, teachers, together with the society can come up with ways to ensure that the students are not much affected by the drugs and alcohol. Setting up rehab centers, as stated by Fernández-Suárez et al., is one way of ensuring that the affected children get the help they need, at the most appropriate time. Also, the local courts can increase the jail terms for criminals found guilty of selling drugs to minors and students. By increasing the jail term, the drug barons and peddlers will find it hard risking their lives and “businesses” just to serve a student.
Also, there was the teacher problems reason for dropping out of school. As the essay suggests, teachers are supposed to be the main pillar of strength for the students when they are at school. However, this is not the case, as some teachers use their position to racially discriminate their students and make them feel unwanted. There are two ways of dealing with this cause of dropping out of school. The first way, as per the view of Schargel et al., is by holding campaigns that are against racism in schools, and the other channel is by enforcing strict rules against racism in schools. With these rules in mind, teachers will find it hard discriminating their students. On the other hand, there are personal reasons for dropping out of school. These causes include failure in class, pregnancies, financial issues, and parenting and parental issues. These causes, in most cases, are hard to control because in most cases they all depend on the willingness of the student to talk about it. Although they are hard to control, solutions to these causes are discussed below.
The first personal cause of dropping out of school was failure in class and academics. It is normal for academics to be a little bit harder than students expect it to be. However, when it gets so hard, this should never be the reason as to why they drop out of school. Teachers and parents need to work hand in hand and counsel the students who feel like they do not perform well in class. Instead of scolding and making fun of them when they fail in their exams, teachers and parents, according to Cavell are supposed to talk to the student and make sure they make them feel at ease. Parents are supposed to let them know that although they failed in three consecutive exams, they still love them as much and are willing to offer them the help they need in their academic.
When it comes to controlling pregnancies, parents need to take the role of being the main counselors. They need to take up the role of educating their children on the dangers of having unprotected sex. Although some pregnancies are as a result of rape, parents still need to educate their children on the dangers of engaging in behaviors that will lead them into sex and alcohol.