High School Dropouts

It is agreed that educational attainment is an important determinant of economic growth and personal success. However, people who fail to graduate from high schools face an enormous challenge in securing a well-paid job in their entire life. The paper explores the risk factors associated with school dropouts and strategies to address the problems.

High School Dropout

High school dropouts refer to a situation where students quit schools and unable to graduate with their peers. In the United States, approximately 607,789 dropped out from high schools between 2008 and 2009. However, the Education Week estimated that more than 1.3 million high school students dropped out in 2010. Annually, average of 1.2 million students drop out, which rank the United States 19th in the world. Typically, dropping out from high schools is costly to both society and dropouts themselves because the issue can consequently lead to economic and social problems. From example, people who drop out from schools have difficulty in finding good jobs, and their incomes are substantially less than high school graduates. School dropouts earn an average of $9,200 yearly less than people who graduate from high schools. Moreover, high school dropouts are four times likely to be unemployed than those with high school diploma.

Poorer health and higher mortality rates are other negative outcomes of dropouts. Typically, dropouts are more likely to engage in criminal behaviors, for example, 60% of African Americans who dropout from schools have a probability of being incarcerated. By consequence, high rate of school dropouts generates significant social costs to tax taxpayers because governments collect lower taxation from dropouts. The academic mediation theory argues that poor academic achievement is the strongest predictor of dropout. However, this paper believes that poverty is the strongest factor that leads to dropouts since the dropout rates are higher among students living in poverty striking areas. In the United States, students from ethnic minority groups have the highest rates of school dropouts because the majority of people from these ethnic groups live in the poverty striking areas.

In last few years, the United States formulated the No Child is Left Behind Act aimed to reduce the rate of school dropouts, and increase a high school graduation rate by 90%. Despite a recent attention from the policy makers, school dropouts are still a serious social issue in the United States. The U.S government needs to develop an effective strategy to reduce the rates high school dropouts. The paper suggests that the government should develop a poverty alleviation program that will improve the standard of living of the target population who have the highest risk of high school dropouts.


There is no doubt that school dropouts rates are the major economic and social problems in the United States. The study explores the risk factors associated to school dropouts and recommends an intervention program that can reduce the rates of high school dropouts in the United States.

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