Persuasive Essay on Reducing High School Dropout Rates

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Every year in the United States of America 1.2 million kids drop out of high school. This is not acceptable for a country to be known as the cornerstone of modern advancement in technology and social freedom. Not only is this one of the most prevalent issues facing us at the moment, but it also will have consequences for the future. Today's children are tomorrow's future. It is also our responsibility to tend to our community and listen to their problem because their problem is also our problem. Hearing our communities' reasons for not having the ability to achieve a high school degree will make it easier to understand their situation and will make us come up with a better solution. As a community, we want to do everything in our power to prevent high school kids from dropping out because we know that it will cause consequences for their future. This paper will discuss what are some of the contributing factors as to why students would drop out of high school, as well as some consequences. In the end, this paper will discuss why the community must take action and some possible solutions for combatting the crisis, in which the community is involved. Using leadership skills such as community care and critical hope is crucial for developing a plan of action for a community to take. Community care is understanding that other people's problems are our problems because we as a society are judged by how we treat the less fortunate in our community. Having critical hope in which we give a beacon of light for success with first understanding where your boat is in the midst of all the fog. By also giving the captain of the boat the right knowledge in steering the boat to the harbor of success in life. The boat which represents a struggling person needs to know that hope cannot just be a beacon of light, but critical hope is understanding other people's circumstances and having effective means of dealing with their circumstances. One cannot expect people to succeed if the playing field is not the same. Understanding others’ problems and having effective means of helping others is part of being critical when showing good hope.

There are various reasons why students drop out of high school. These reasons range from simple to complex reasons why a student drops out of high school. Dropping out of high school not only affects the individual who has dropped out. Their action will also affect those who surround them. A study done by the U.S. Department of Education showed that students who have multiple abscesses between grades 8 to 12 lead to students have a seven times higher rate of dropping out (NCES). When students do not attend school consistently, they lose important material, which then leads to more work because they now have to learn previous material and whatever currently is being taught. If abscesses are not corrected early, the amount of school work material needed to be learned could increase exponentially, leading to the student being overwhelmed.

Mental illness affects many people in America, but for students during high school, it could be detrimental if the illness is left untreated. It is crucial to signal the problem because adolescence is the most important year of someone's life because a major decision tends to have major consequences, due to the pressure of opportunities put on students. More often depression in students can be seen as merely someone who is just being moody. The truth is that easy judgment like that tends to not help anyone. The pressure of school and adult responsibilities can overwhelm students, and it is expected of them to move through all of these responsibilities stoically. Overwhelming responsibilities from school, family, and friends can lead to students wanting to escape from all the stress, leading to a drop in academic performance. Not being able to see a clear resolution in their head leads to a decision that they might regret in the future.

In addition to why some studies drop out, a study done by the National Center for Education Statistics found that students with families with low income have the highest rates of dropping out at 9.4% (NCES). Students in these circumstances cannot afford to let their families sink financially, so they have to get a job to support the household income. This means letting go of the school's responsibility to have a job.

Understanding the difficulties of others is crucial in giving hope to people who are struggling. One cannot give hope to others if the individual does not understand the circumstances in which others come from. Also, knowing the consequences of not finishing high school is important because individuals can have a better understanding of the situation they are in.

High school dropouts have created detrimental consequences in our overall economy. Each year, dropouts cost the United States over 200 billion dollars in lost earnings due to people not making the same amount as people who do end up graduating. The negative impact of high school dropouts worsens the economy every time a student chooses to drop out of school. This epidemic that is increasing has become a vicious cycle that must be put to an end. Studies have shown that one must attain a high school degree to combat poverty. Moreover, studies have also shown that a high school degree is not seen the same now as it was in the past. More often than not, a high school dropout will earn less in a lifetime than an individual who has graduated high school and continued to further their education. Studies have also shown that 90 % of the 11,000 youth in detention facilities have no more than a 9th-grade education. If we were able to as a community mentor young students during elementary and middle school, their chances of dropping out of high school would decrease substantially.

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As a community, it is our responsibility to tend to the people who do not have the same amount of resources as the majority. A country that prides itself on being the greatest in the world still has a long way of caring for its oppressed. A country that has a history of denying rights to minorities needs to acknowledge its faults and amend some reparations for its people. Minorities such as blacks and Hispanics have one of the highest rates of dropping out of high school. We as a community need to acknowledge the uneven playing field on which they have to compete. In the era of Sal Castro’s L.A. walkouts of 1968, Hispanic American people were seen as second-class citizens. They were never expected by America at the time to achieve higher education. Sal Castro fought for equal opportunity for Hispanics to achieve higher education. His leadership made his movement successful, and his achievement can be seen in academia today, where we see minorities attending colleges at higher rates than before. We can learn from the Sal Castro leadership style and implement it in helping out the community. In Sal Castro's walkouts, he had the ability to connect with people emotionally. He motivated a crowd to walk out and protest the injustice that was being done to minorities. His ability to connect to other people was crucial in the development of his movement. The ability to connect to other people and in motivating the masses was also present in Martin Luther King Jr.'s movement. He did not just tell people what to do, but instead, he inspired them. He was articulate in conveying his message.

In the quest of helping out others in our community our people, we do not have to be as articulate as Martin Luther King Jr or generate a movement as big as Sal Castro’s 1968, East L.A. walkouts, but what the community can do is learn their leadership style.

In helping out others it is important in having someone you can look up to. In the 1968 East L.A. walkouts, Sal Castro was responsible for motivating others. His leadership style, which consisted of being a guiding star of hope, can be implemented in the quest in helping in the reduction of high school dropouts. The implementation of a peer-to-peer mentoring program can be one of the most effective and convenient ways of leading someone’s life to success. A mentoring program that consists of a student who is enrolled at Canada College can earn credits for mentoring a student in high school. The program could be supervised by someone who is an expert in counseling. Mentors would provide counseling but would need to approach, with the willingness to listen and understand. They must also show honesty, meaning that they will be able to tell the student the truth, even if it seems to be ugly. Honesty with diplomacy. This does not mean that insensitivity is at play, but in reality, one needs to know the truth before the circumstances to show hope. This concept is found in the literature by Jeff Duncan-Andrade ‘Growing Roses on Concrete’, in which the literature talks about the concept of giving hokey hope. It defines hokey hope as ‘hokey’ because it ignores the laundry list of inequalities that impact the lives of urban youth. One cannot ignore the facts that are presented in inequalities or else the means of achieving that goal could run the risk of being overwhelmed by the inequalities that the individuals must face. That being said mentors need to have the ability to listen to others, first understanding the circumstances in which they are coming from and give advice to them. Then that advice needs to be in line with whatever their circumstances are. This sometimes means that they have to work harder than other students who have more resources than them.

Sometimes a tough conversation may seem like nothing more than a pain, but a tough conversation is critical to the further development of someone's future. ‘Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters the Most’ by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen says that individuals do not usually look forward to having difficult conversations, but that it is necessary to have them because if not done, individuals run the risk of letting themselves get hurt or others. Needing to say what needs to be said is important because the truth is a value that most people hold in the highest regard.

When the truth is held in high regard in a relationship of mentorship, this consequently creates trust. Trust is one of the best predictors of relationship success, without it we are not connecting with the other individual fully. This is brought up in ‘Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters the Most’, in which Douglas Stone talks about how saying the truth is always the best for the individual. Implementing empathy is needed in understanding others. The golden rule states: “Treat others the same way you want to be treated”. Then, there is the platinum rule, which states: “Treat others the way they want to be treated”. The platinum rule envelops the practice of empathy in that it differs from sympathy. Sympathy does not take as much emotional intelligence as would being empathic. With empathy, you need to practice putting yourself in other's shoes, which requires more from an individual. Practicing the platinum rule while mentoring capitulates what it means to be an effective leader in someone else's life.

In conclusion, to help out in eliminating high school dropout rates one first needs to understand where the individual who drops out of high school is coming from. There are many reasons that do not meet the eye, by first understanding, better ways to help to solve issues in our community arise. Knowing the consequences of not finishing a high school degree is also crucial because it paints a well-informed informed future for that student. Coming up with plans of action is now an effective means for eradicating the problem. One of the many ways the community can get involved in helping reduce dropout rates is by becoming a mentor to students in high school who are at the most risk of dropping out. One cannot be just a mentor who says anything that seems inspiring and expects that person to excel. An effective mentor means listening to others first and then coming up with solutions.

Works Cited

  1. Catterall, J. S. (1985). On the Social Costs of Dropping Out of Schools. (Report No.86-SEPT-3).
  2. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, Center for Educational Research.
  3. Hernandez, Sussette. “Impact: High School DropOut”. Alternative Schools Network, https://www.asnchicago.org/hs-drop-out-impact.
  4. Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade (2009). Note to Educators: Hope Required When Growing Roses in Concrete. Harvard Educational Review: July 2009, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp. 181-194.
  5. “Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Minorities”. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education, https://nces.ed.gov/pubs2007/minoritytrends/ind_4_15.asp.
  6. “The NCES Fast Facts Tool Provides Quick Answers to Many Education Questions (National Center for Education Statistics)”. National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) Home Page, a Part of the U.S. Department of Education, https://nces.ed.gov/fastfacts/display.asp?id=16
  7. Stone, D., Patton, B. & Heen, S. (2014). Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most. Leadership Development Studies: A Humanities Approach, (5), 171-175. Plymouth, MI: Hayden-McNeil Publishing.
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