“Stay in School,” we tell our kids. “Don’t be a quitter!” But are there really long-term consequences to dropping out? It turns out there are!
Can’t high school drop-outs just get a job? The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2019, only 44.6 percent of adult high school dropouts were employed. That compares with 72.3 percent of adults with a bachelor’s degree. Simply finding and keeping a job is a challenge if you haven’t earned a high school diploma.
For those 44.6 percent of high school dropouts who do work, how much do they make? Again, we can look at the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2019, workers 25 and older without a high school diploma had median weekly earnings of $606, compared to $749 for those who had a diploma.
Quality of Life
Money isn’t everything; how about quality of life? Sadly, high school dropouts are more likely than any other group to be raising children alone, to be on public assistance, and to be incarcerated.
Effects on Society
If someone wants to drop out, it’s their choice, right? That may be true, but dropping out of school has a negative impact on the individual, their family, and society as a whole. Everyone ends up paying, when people are in jail or on public assistance.
Students choose to drop out for many reasons. Some feel the circumstances of their lives make traditional school seem impossible. These students need to be surrounded with support so they can complete high school. Flexible online programs can help. So can the mentors they will find at these schools. Helping students finish high school is important. Their future, and in part, our future as well, depends on it!