Does the U.S. Educational System Fail at High School?


Although most teenagers move on to high school from junior high, about 25 percent of them don’t graduate, raising raises the question of why so many secondary-level students don’t make it through the 12th grade. Without a high-school diploma, people have little chance of getting a well-paying job or career position. Instead, they often end up working at minimum-wage jobs indefinitely. If they do return to school later, it is even more difficult to graduate, given the interference of life circumstances. Here are possible causes of the low graduation rate based on common factors.

Urban Problems

Kids who live in urban areas often struggle to attend school for various reasons. Their families may lack the means to provide proper food and clothing to prepare students for school. If they do attend, they often feel conspicuous in out-of-date clothing. These kids sometimes lack the funds to play school sports and then lose interest in the curriculum. Students who come from a dysfunctional home life may have to live with parents who are fighting, hooked on alcohol or drugs, or otherwise unable to meet their children’s physical and emotional needs. According to this thesis from The College at Brockport, “The process often begins in the ninth grade, as students fail to accumulate the necessary credits to continue to the tenth grade. Students who have acquired few graduation credits often withdraw from school when they are legally able.


Lack of Role Models

Many teens today lack positive role models within their families and communities or among friends. Good role models can set an example of pursuing higher education. Professional business people who could become mentors often shy away from inner city students they don’t know. Teachers may stereotype students who are struggling to come to school and master the subject matter.

High Dropout Rates

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the average national graduation rate for high school students is 84 percent. One reason that the average rate is less-than-optimal is due to the high dropout rates that occur in many areas. Metropolitan areas experiencing inner-city woes are especially hard hit by educational issues that contribute to many teenagers leaving high school without earning their diploma. School levies are less likely to pass in poverty-stricken areas, for example, meaning that some schools lack the necessary resources that other districts may have. Without adequate equipment, textbooks, and buildings, students may leave school in search of alternatives.

Educators’ Response to Failing Students

Unfortunately, public schools are frequently unable or unwilling to promptly identify and assist students who are failing to get to school consistently, remain awake and alert in class, or complete assignments on time, if at all. Early intervention is needed to help students in crisis or those who lack a foundation of academic preparation that’s required to get through high school. Professional oversight is needed.

It is a struggle to get through high school for a lot of students but what about the opportunities after graduation? Should those be provided equally to all? Read this article and find out!


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