Domingo, 18/8/2019 | : : UTC-4
The Reflection

Change the high school dropout age to 18

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When teenagers turns 16, they are given more responsibility and more freedom. Teenagers not only receive the power to drive, but the power to dropout of high school. Why is it that people feel that teenagers who are given their first bit of freedom should wield the power to make a life changing decision? These same teenagers have a driver’s license that requires them to legally be home by 10 p.m. and only have one other person in the car with them, but yet we expect them to make the decision whether they want to continue to go to high school or not.  This one choice impacts their future negatively, limiting career options. Very few jobs do not require a high school diploma and those jobs are often minimum wage.

It is important to keep teenagers in high school, and this can be done by raising the dropout age from 16 to 18 years old. At the age of 18, teenagers are now legal adults and can make their own decisions. At that point, they have likely decided a basic life plan.

According to dosomething.org, in the United States, every year over 1.2 million students drop out of high school. Each year, that is over 1.2 million teenagers without a basic high school diploma, 1.2 million teenagers without sturdy path, leaving 1.2 million teenagers set up for failure.  

We need to help these young adults and set them up for success. College is not meant for everyone, but high school should be. High school not only teaches basic algebra and English, but it teaches students how to function in the real world so they can get a job and provide for themselves.

Staying in school also keeps teenagers out of trouble. According to alliance for excellent education, 56 percent of federal inmates, 67 percent of inmates in state prisons and 69 percent of inmates in local jails did not complete high school. No, keeping teenagers in school does not prevent them from committing crime and ending up in jail later in life, but statistically it gives them a better chance in life.

A 16 year old is still a child and has not even experienced a year of slight freedom and independence through driving. They are not ready to decide the fate of their future off of one life changing decision. At 18, high school is almost over and those teenagers who wanted to drop out at 16 are probably more willing to put up with a few more months, allowing them to get their high school diploma.  


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