High school dropout has significant socio-economic impact on the United States as it increases the burden on taxpayers of approximately $300,000 throughout the period of their lifetime. According to the Centre for Labour Markets Studies, cost of high school dropout emanate from the fact that the dropouts will rely on welfare, pay lower rates of taxes, and are likely to face imprisonment.
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High school dropouts are also 47 times susceptible to commit crimes and face imprisonment as compared to students who complete degree courses. Statistics shows that, approximately 6.2 million dropouts who are at the ages of 16 to 24 years are high school dropouts. Vitaro, Larocque, Janosz, and Tremblay state that, about 20% of youths in the United States between the ages of 16-24 are dropouts (401).
High population of dropouts is prone to incarceration if there are no appropriate educational programs to help high school dropouts continue with their studies. Therefore, since dropouts need to improve their lives, the United States is in a dilemma of either investing in a correctional system or education system.
Dropping out of high school predisposes young people to commit crimes since they cannot achieve meaningful form of employment, which can help them to improve their lives. According to the Centre for Labour Market Studies, due to economic conditions, current labour markets do not provide opportunities to high school dropouts.
Therefore, it means that, about 1.3 million dropouts have no place in the labour markets, for they do not have relevant skills required by employers. The growing population of graduates coupled with economic difficulties has made labour market highly competitive in that, high school dropouts can no longer survive.
Hence, the United States needs to develop appropriate educational programs that will aid high school dropouts to continue with their education and pursue their careers lest lose them to a correctional system.
High number of dropouts is compromising socio-economic capacity of the United States as it ranks 20th among the 28 industrialized nations. Critical analysis of dropouts shows that it has dimension of poverty in that high-poverty regions experience about 40% rate of high school dropout.
Recognizing the extent of high school dropout, federal government through Jobs Corps, National Guard’s Youth Challenge Program, and Hope & Opportunity Pathways through Education is investing billions of dollars in re-enrolment of dropouts and development of educational programs that enable them to continue with their studies and develop their careers.
Moreover, state governments have adopted federal legislations and formulated more legislations and policies to curb the problem of high school dropouts. Appropriate funding of educational programs and development of early warning systems that monitor dropout is essential in managing the problem of high school dropout.
At the local governments, municipalities, districts and other organizations are developing new educational programs to empower high school dropouts academically. The National League of Cities supports Re-Enrolment Student Project that seeks to re-admit about 800 dropouts across various cities.
Several school districts found in Boston, New York, Chicago are providing a second chance for high school dropouts to continue with their studies and earn a diploma. Specifically, Gateway to College National Network is an organization, which Portland Community College created in 2000 to help high school dropouts earn their diplomas.
The Gateway to College National Network is gaining national recognition since it covers 16 states, and partners with 30 colleges and more than 100 district schools. Moreover, it receives a vast amount of funds from Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Thus, it is evident that government and various organizations have come together to improve educational levels of high school dropouts with a view of enabling them to develop their careers and prevent them from facing imprisonment.
Vitaro, Frank, Denis Larocque, Michael Janosz, and Richard Tremblay. “Negative Social Experiences and Dropping Out of School.” Educational Psychology 21.4 (2001): 401-415. Print.