Step Up to the Plate [Blog] – Generation Justice

Every day, 50 students in New Mexico dropout.  One of these high school dropouts could be sitting on either side of you, or scattered throughout the room.  One may be a parent, or a brother.  High school dropout affects all of us, no matter creed, or race.  It also happens to be on the rise countrywide.  Schools across America suffer from the large amount of students that dropout annually.  In New Mexico, 13000 students drop out every year.  If half of those dropouts, and only half, graduated, the state would save over 100 million in funds that would be spend for incarceration or would have gained from each of those students’ taxes.

The dropout issue is a complex one, with much more depth than the common misconception that students only dropout because they don’t wish to attend school. One of those reasons is the large class size.  In the years of Albuquerque High’s youth, the amount of people in a class was very small and teachers were able to teach to a student’s strengths and weaknesses.  Today, it is not uncommon to see classrooms of 38-42 students here at AHS.  This affects teachers and students alike.  Teachers have to deal with more students and can’t help students that are lagging, while students themselves can have a hard time focusing with the large amount of people around them. An interviewed student said “I just find that it gets really hard to concentrate when there are so many people in each class, I feel like I’m being drowned by the amount of students in each classroom”.

Others drop because they aren’t getting the support they need to succeed.  AHS has 9 counselors for 1800 students, which means that counselors sometimes can’t reach out to those that are falling behind in their studies.  If students aren’t getting support from parents, then they can turn to counselors.  However, with the counselor’s huge student workload, some might be left behind with no helping hand.  Another problem is the long commute for students that live out of district.  If you live out of district, a long commute to school can be a daunting drain of resources.  Impoverished families suffer the most from anything, and dropout is no exception.  Many students dropout not because they don’t like school, though there are such cases.  No, many students dropout school to support their families.  If students aren’t raised wanting to succeed, or if students have to worry about if their family will eat that particular night many will chose to support the things dearest to them: their family.

While this issue is a grim one, and people should be acting to reverse the conditions, there is hope.  Now more than ever, students that dropped out in high school are returning and, through hard work and determination, getting their diplomas.  Statistics show that students that get their diplomas earn drastically higher salaries, and live longer and happier lives than those that don’t. Students should seek support from family member or a school counselor if they are considering dropping out of school.  But it’s not just up to the students, the country and the state need to step up funding for schools.  New Mexico’s overall graduation rate is 50%, which is 16% lower than the national average. The country as a whole needs to step up to the pate and provide more funding for schools.

by: Quinn Anderson