Should the high school dropout age be higher?

By: Alicia Rocha, Special Project Editor

It seems that as humans all we do is go to school, work then die. First we have to go to school for at least 12 years and depending on if we go to college and what we study, we could end up in school for another 10 years.

Not all of us choose that path though. Some of us don’t even finish high school. According to over 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year. School is not everyone’s favorite thing but it is still really important.

In Illinois you must be 17 years old to drop out of high school. For some students that is at the beginning of their junior year. That is two years of high school they are able to miss out on.  

Sometimes there seems to be no other way for the student. Whether they are failing, kicked out, became a parent or their family needs them to work. Even with all these reasons, 17 is too young. Students should be required to at least finish their junior year or be 18 in order to drop out of high school.

Nowadays you need a high school diploma and at least 2-4 years of college in order to get a decent paying job. The kids who are dropping out to go to work are ending up in factories, or doing physical labor. When they first start these jobs they are young and able to do these hard labor jobs and wake up the next day and do it again, but as time goes on their bodies can only take so much.

Without any school or other work skills it will be hard to find a job. A lot of our parents got lucky and were able to find jobs without college or even a high school diploma.

According to the dropout rate was 14.1 percent in 1980, and as of 2010 it was at 7.4 percent. Back then it was a lot more common to drop out of high school because the age was lower and the laws weren’t as strict, but the times are changing and so should the legal requirements.

According to as of 2014 the national graduation rate was 82.3 percent which is an all time high. High schools offer many help options for students so they shouldn’t have to feel like giving up is their only option.

Just because someone doesn’t finish high school doesn’t mean they are destined to fail though. There are plenty of famous and rich people who did not finish high school.  There are also a lot of hardworking people who “start from the bottom” and work their way up, it just takes a little longer than if they were to go to school.

If the legal age to drop out was moved to 18 I think a lot more students would finish high school since they are an adult and they have to really think about their future.