The 2012 High School Dropouts in America survey shows that the two main reasons why students drop out of high school prior to graduation are a lack of parental support and becoming parents themselves. Researchers polled 513 adults between the ages of 19 and 35 and found that nearly a quarter of those who didn't stay in school left because they felt that their parents weren't encouraging them to complete their education.
The report was put together by Harris/Decima for Everest College.
The survey also found that 21% gave becoming a parent as the reason why they didn't complete their high school program, and 17% dropped out because they had missed too many days of school. Surprisingly, dropping out because of class failures ranked only 4th, at 15%, with the same number saying they dropped out because of untreated depression or other mental illness. A further 15% said that the classes offered in their school didn't hold their interest enough to motivate them.
The survey also found that women are three times more likely than men, 27% versus 9%, to leave high school because they became a parent. When it came to the issue of bullying, white respondents, more than any other racial group, cited bullying (14%) as a reason for dropping out.
Nearly 1.3 million students drop out of school each year, which means that nearly 7,000 make the decision to stop their education every single day according to the data collected by the Alliance for Excellent Education. On the rankings compiled by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, this puts the U.S. in 21st place in the world for the number of high schoolers who go on to graduate — a far cry from 1970 when the country ranked first in high school completion.
"The data from this survey is an important step in deepening our understanding of America's high school dropout problem," said survey spokesman John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest College. "Americans without a high school diploma or GED test credential face tremendous challenges. This is why we need to continue putting our dropout crisis under the microscope and develop substantive solutions going forward."
Once students drop out of high school, the chances that they will complete their education down the road dips substantially. Over three-quarters of those polled said that they didn't foresee going back for their General Education Diploma in the near future. Although some said that they had looked into a GED program, they hadn't yet taken any steps to actually enroll in one. Of all the reasons why the students didn't think a GED was possible, lack of time and financial resources were listed as the top reasons, with 34% naming time as the main prohibitive factor and 26% pointing to fiscal difficulties.
About a third of those polled said that they found employment after dropping out, although slightly fewer than half admitted that their current job didn't hold a possibility of career advancement.
"In this country, if a student drops out of high school, one of the most important things we can do is make the option of getting a GED credential easy and affordable," Swartz said. "The unemployment rate for high school dropouts is significantly higher than those with a high school diploma. At the same time, a dropout's access to postsecondary education and training, a requirement for many jobs in today's competitive economy, is severely restricted. To help address this crisis, we recently launched Everest GED(R) Advantage (info: 1-888-201-6547), a GED test preparation and credential completion program that is free and open to the public."