Dropping Out of Life: Part 1

In the year 2007, you may not think students dropping out of high school is still a problem.

However, school district's across the area say that if even one teen drops out, that's one too many. Now faculty and staff are looking at the many reasons why students drop out and trying to find solutions.

One of those solutions may lie with parents.

In 2005, The Youth News Team released a study discussing parental involvement and success in high school.

The results show 69 percent of students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher say their parents help them select classes. The report says these students are twice as likely to say their parents attend school events.

Experts say parental involvement and other factors contribute to academic success.

Psychologists say teachers, parents, and even communities are major factors that contribute to a child's success in school.

"Whether the parent is aware of who their teachers are, going to the parent teacher meetings, look at their homework each night all are better predictors of students staying involved in school then any other factors that we see," said Dr. Bill Pfohl, a child psychologist and professor at Western Kentucky University.

Doctor Pfohl says there's not one reason why student's drop out of school. He says the problem is multi-faceted and catching young students who may be behind can potentially keep them in school as they grow older.

"Early on if we find kids who are not engaged in school, or who are failing, who have behavior problems need to be looked at early on," said Dr. Pfohl.

Transition times are also important in predicting the achievement of a child.

"If somebody is moving from 5th to 6th grade or a new building can be a predictor of dropouts," said Dr. Pfohl.

If a student does drop out of high school, Dr. Pfohl says their future is greatly affected by the decision.

"Many of these who drop out are faced with poverty, either being on welfare, some are involved in criminal activity in order to make the difference up financially. They have health problems because they can't afford health insurance," said Dr. Pfohl.

While potential employers do look at your level of education, Dr. Pfohl says more importantly they want to make sure you're able to be educated.

"Can they actually learn the trade or the job? Without a high school diploma, they really don't know if the student or the person looking for the job can do that way they're less likely to be hired," said Dr. Pfohl.

For more information on the Youth News Team you can log onto http://www.prichardcommittee.org/ or http://www.youthnewsteam.com/.