Issues Facing US Schools

How these issues can hurt our schools and our students

Dropout Rates in High School

Dropout rates for high school students’ increase or decrease due to factors such as area of the high school, socioeconomic status, and many other reasons that can either be individual or contextual. While I was in high school, I noticed that my class had a lot of sexual discrepancies that no one wanted to acknowledge. There were a few incidents where a major STD/STI would be transmitted around school and everyone knew about it. But it was the fact that my class saw more than a dozen or so of the female students get pregnant and have children that added to our dropout rate increase. These girls thought that they could continue to go to class and study as well as raise a child, and a lot of them tried, but then it would become too much for them and they would drop out and seek work.

I think that this could be used to show the need for things like sexual health and education classes as a way to prevent dropout rates. By teaching abstinence only education, and not really explaining what can happen and how to prevent these things from happening it does a lot more damage than people may think. It must be understood that informing young people about matters of a sexual nature can greatly impact the rest of their lives.

Abstinence-Only Education: The Creationism of Sex

Another major reason for students having to drop out of high school, which I saw in my own high school, is money. Money impacts every facet of our lives, whether we choose to admit it or not. I knew a lot of students in my class who were sometimes working two different jobs in addition to going to school during the day. Many of them opted for the “minimum requirement” graduation plan, which would let them leave around lunch time each day to go to work, but they did not have as many credits as others. Sometimes the pressure of both home and school would be too much for them, and the minute they could, they would just drop out of school all together, forgoing it to try and make as much as they needed to survive.

One of my closest friends in high school was one of these students. Her mother was always gone, and she had a brother with autism to try and support. So her 3rd year of high school she gathered all the paper work necessary, got it signed, and dropped out. She instantly went to working 2 jobs, as well as trying to make sure her brother was taken care of, supported and loved. This really put a lot of damage on her as she had to grow up at 17 years old and become an adult.

It’s through situations like the ones I have listed above I think that the US educational system needs to change. We need to try to do everything in our powers as educators to make sure that students are able to be informed, protected, and given any opportunity they can to thrive.