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High School Dropout in the United States

Last updated on October 4th, 2019 at 04:10 pm


School dropout has severe long- term results not only to individuals but also to the society. It brings about negative consequences such as increased possibilities of unemployment, increased incidence of birth outside marriage and divorce, lower rates of marriage, poor health and increased participation in welfare and legal systems. All these results are not only costly to the dropout, but also to the society at large.

Extent of the problem in the United States

Nationwide, approximately 7,000 students drop out school each day. This statistic couldn’t have been noticed 50 years ago, although the period in which a drop out from high school could secure a job has ended within the United States.  By dropping out, these people significantly reduce their chances of securing a good job and a bright future. In addition, each group of dropouts is responsible for considerable social and financial costs to their respective communities, states and nations which they reside in(Alliance for Excellent Education 2010).

In the year 1970, the United States had the highest graduation rate in the world. Nowadays, ‘according to the Organization for  Economic and Cooperation and Development’, Unites States has dropped to number 21 in regards to high school completion, and number fifteen in college completion. Moreover, other top countries outshine the United States in terms of quality in primary and secondary education (Levin and Rouse, 2012).

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A high number of students aren’t graduating on time with an ordinary diploma. In this regard, student ranked on the low income level and those of color are categorized as the worst in drop out endemic. Approximately 1.3 million high school students fail to graduate each year, and half of them are students of color. The rate of graduation amongstudents of color is more than 25% points below their white fellows (Alliance for Excellent Education 2010). Additionally, a student within the age category of 16 to 24 years old, and who comes from a poor family is approximately seven times more liable to drop out of high school than his or her fellow student who comes from a rich family(Alliance for Excellent Education 2010).

What is done to alleviate high school drop out

Mitt Romney (presumed republican opponent) and president Obama, keep on mentioning the importance of education, within the context of fixing the nation’s economy, creating jobs and making colleges more affordable. In his speech given in May, Mr. Romney proposed the allowance of disabled and poor students to utilize federal money to enroll in any private, public, or online school of their choice (Adeshina, 2012).

The formation of an Education Corps, according to The American Interest (2012), as an element of refurbished national program would create high school and college graduation, a probability for a large number of students each year. This would be less expensive than employing support staff or additional teachers for every school. In addition, it would be an investment, which would obviously pay for itself. Moreover, maintaining or students within schools would result to higher wages for these students in future, and produce higher returns in form of taxes. Over a lifetime, a graduate from college earns approximately one million dollars more than a dropout from high school. The better life chances for these students would as wellreduce the need for pricey public support devoted to job training, welfare and prison resources.

Numerous reformers have placed much emphasis on the dropout prevention among high school students. This has effectively been done through the replacement of huge high schools with smaller learning communities, where students from poor background can get personalized instructions from committed teachers. In addition, a number of evidence collected over decades proposes that some of the approaches are required to begin even earlier. In this case, preschool for three and four year olds, who are taught and fed in small groups, and followed up through home visits by teachers.

According to Bridgeland, Dilulio and Morison (2006), leaders, policymakers and educators should make the high school dropout endemic a top national priority. All avenues to help leaders understand the problem and various solutions better should be commenced. They include White House Conferences, congregational hearings, state and local officials’ summit, and public meetings in schools and communities. Thus, in all cases the grievances of high school dropouts should be heard.

Levin and Rouse (2012) state that if the costs of investment in production of a new graduate are put into consideration, there’s a return of 1.45 to 3.55 U.S  dollars for every dollar in investment, depending on the educational intervention strategy. In relation to this estimate, every new graduate gives a net benefit of approximately $127,000 to tax payers over his or her lifetime. This is beneficial to the public of almost $90 billion for every year of success in lessening the number of dropouts from high school by 700,000.

Lastly, when Washington County realized that it incurred increased high school dropout, it came up with a strategy in 2001 to increase its rates of graduation. In this case, teachers were assigned the responsibility of concentrating more on students with high risk of dropping out of school. In addition, intervention specialists were employed. Moreover, support was given to students at risk before, during and after school. Summer and evening high school classes were extended to assist students in completion of graduation requirements. As a result the graduation rate in Washington County increased by 10% higher than the average in Maryland County (Layton 2012).


Despite the America’s increased rate of high school dropouts, it still has the biggest and most prosperous economy in the globe. In this case, it has the most productive workers, successful companies, and gives more patents to entrepreneurs and inventors. In addition, it has the world’s best universities and colleges in which most students go to study than any other nation on the globe.


Adeshina, E. (2012, June 20). Education.New York Times. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from             http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/education/857-desks-call-attention-to-dropout-problem.html?_r=1

Alliance for Excellent Education (2010). High School Dropouts in America. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from


Bridgeland, J.M, Dilulio, J.J. and Morison. K.B (2006). The Silent Epidemic: Perspective of High School Dropouts. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from        http://www.ignitelearning.com/pdf/TheSilentEpidemic3-06FINAL.pdf

Levin, H.M and Rouse, C.E (2012, January 25). The True Cost of High School Dropouts. The New York Times. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from        http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/26/opinion/the-true-cost-of-high-school-dropouts.html?_r=1

Layton, L. (2012,). High School Graduation Rate rises in U.S. The Washington post. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from


The American Interest (2012). A Call to National Service. Retrieved on 28 July, 2012 from           http://www.the-american-interest.com/article.cfm?piece=372

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