The Importance of Education aand the Issue of High School Dropouts in the United States

Topics: Teaching

Think back to when you were younger. What did you want to be when you grew up? Most students would say a doctor, police officer or even a chef. Hardly ever would you hear a child say they want to be a high school dropout. Sadly today more students are dropping out of high school than ever before. It has been stated, “Every nine seconds a students drops out of school” (Weis 12). Think about that for a second. By the time your done reading this sentence, a student has already made the decision to drop out.

Now think about that throughout your whole day; that adds up to a lot of students. Truth is even you probably know someone who is a dropout, whether they are a former peer, a close friend, or even a family member. So why are so many students dropping out? Paulo Freire, an educational theorist, articulates this in his article, ” The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education.” In this article he emphasizes on how the “banking concept” uses teachers as “narrators” and students as just the “receptacles”.

In this article it is concluded that the educational system today is negatively putting stress onto students that causes a majority of the students to drop out.

One of the things the educational system struggles with the most, as a nation is that the administrators and the state of education make classes that are too challenging for some of the students. Even though classes are supposed to be a challenge and help students learn critical thinking methods, what they fail to realize is that not all students learn at the same speed or at the same level.

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They do this by making the class work one sided where the expectation must meet what the administrators and the state educational system wants and not on what the students say or feel. They are also not helping the students intellectually but rather just feeding information into their system.

The educational system treats the students as if they are machines. As if the students today are just supposed to take in a whole bunch of information and put out a perfect paper. Unfortunately, in the real world that is nearly impossible.

Just like Freire says, (Freire Par 3). Freire emphasizes that students learn materials in class but not the meaning behind it. Students cannot just be thought to take in a bunch of information if they cannot apply it to real life. For example you can teach students how to do algebra and how to find X but if they don’t know why they are doing algebra or how they can apply it to their daily lives than what is the purpose of learning it?

George Hillocks Jr. the author of the book The Testing Trap: How State Writing Assessments Control Learning articulates the same thing. He states, “…they’re imposing curriculum, they’re not imposing skills, they’re imposing curriculum… the states going to have to find out what they want…do they want mechanics…” (Hillocks 133). Hillocks agree with Freire in this quote by saying it poses curriculum and not skills. Both authors share a common idea on that schools today aren’t applying the meaning behind the classwork, but putting information in the students heads.

The students are not learning the skills behind the curriculum so there is no worth is teaching students about the curriculum, when what they should be learning is what comes from their knowledge. Most schools are worried about the students just knowing the fundamentals, which is not putting their intellect to work. Imagine the stress these kids must feel being in a classroom. The students have to abide by what the class wants. If it is not the way the school wants it then the student’s way is considered wrong.

The students than start to feel as if everything they are doing in the class is wrong which starts to add stress on the student. When the student gets poor grade they will start to think of themselves as a failure. The average student will start to think there is no difference if getting a poor grade and dropping out.

Students today come from many different backgrounds and family history patters. Margaret Terry Orr, a faulty member on the Bank Street College of Education and the author of Keeping Students in School says, “There are four groups of dropout-prone and out of school youth. They consist of four sub groups including children and youth who have family with personal background and educational experiences similar to the dropout. Those who have given up on school already.

Teens who have faced motherhood or need to work and lastly, teens who have dropped out” (Terry Orr 192). When students come from such harsh backgrounds who can they trust? When students are stressed out with the curriculum, they often feel lost as if they need someone to talk too and someone to listen to their problems. Most of them already have parents who have dropped out and some parents are okay with their kids staying at home and not going to school. So who can these students turn too? The only true people they can turn to are their teachers. Just like Freire states, “Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students” (Freire Par 7).

Freire explains how there must be a positive student to teacher relationships for this is how the students and the teachers can grow. In public schools today the student to teacher ratio is extremely high. This makes is extremely hard for students and teachers to have that one on one. With so many students in class how can a student reach out for help? With no one to talk to or push them to their goals students start to feel more stress. They start to feel the stress that no one cares and even start to think what are they doing wasting their time here. When students start to feel alone and that there is no one pushing them they to take this as stress and end up dropping out.

As if being treated as robots, and low communication between student and teacher wasn’t enough stress, these students now have to deal with thee stress of standardized tests. This includes the ACT, SAT, and others. Though these tests are not required they are required if students wish to continue on with secondary education. These tests test how each individual student is doing in the academic area. Not to mention this tests every student regardless of their condition has to take these exams. These tests can be extremely difficult and take months to study for.

If a student doesn’t do well on these exams then they will face a hard time getting into colleges. Jay P Heubert the author of High Stakes: Testing For Tracking, Promotion, and Graduation even says, “In general, a test used to make a placement decision is not being used to certify mastery but rather to predict a student’s response to alternative future educational setting” (Heubert 98). So why are these students facing so much stress over an exam? This can become a limiting factor to most students. Since the tests doesn’t implicate to knowledge-based question some students will face a hard time dealing with these test taking. 

For example, a student who is new into the United States and may not speak English very well. That particular student may have the knowledge required to pass the exam but the student will ultimetly face a hard time understand thing the question. If these tests don’t pose knowledge-based questions then these kids wont are able to put that into their daily lives. It wouldn’t make them to go to school and study hard into their classes is that’s not even what they’re being tested on.

In today’s time it is very important to have your high school diploma and even a secondary education. There a so many jobs out there where you are required to have at least a high school diploma. Since most students drop out at an early age it gets harder for them to come back to school. In all honesty can you blame them? The educational system is taking advantage of these students. They are being treated like machinery and not like human beings. The class sizes have gotten so big that for one teacher to connect with every student on a one to one ratio is very difficult. To top it off students are faced with standardized tests.

All these things affect students by putting so much stress that they cannot even deal with it. That’s why it becomes easier for students to leave school and just start working. With this they’re getting money and not having to deal with stress of school. It is true that school is not for everyone but students should be able to finish high school without feeling the need to drop out. I agree that there have been ways to solve these problems but it’s not enough. The educational system needs to learn how reduce stress within these schools.

They need to start teaching students skills that can be used in the real world and need to change the curriculum so it lets the students use their ideas and practice easily. There should be smaller class sizes so teacher can actually know who their students are and personally help guide them on the right track. The standardized test should be more knowledge based and not just on information they think they should know for the future. We as a nation have came along way to help aid in these issues but if things don’t change soon the students who drop out every nine second will easily turn in to less seconds.

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The Importance of Education aand the Issue of High School Dropouts in the United States. (2023, Mar 15). Retrieved from

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