Dropping Out Can Lead to a Dead End Street

by Emma Garcia

(Drawing of street cleaner)According to recent research the high school dropout for Hispanic students is the highest over all other groups at 18.3 percent.

Karina is a student who is part of that 18.3%. She was in the eleventh grade when she decided not to return to school at end of the school year. "I dropped out of high school because it was difficult for me and I didn't understand the classes," she said.

Now Karina is working as a housekeeper only because she hasn't found anything better. She believes that if she hadn't dropped out of high school she would have a good job right now. "I would be able to express myself better and I would also have a good position."

Karina is also married and has a one-year-old daughter. She said, "Now I don't have the time or the money to continue my education because now I have to support my daughter." She said that in the future she is planning to take English classes to improve her English because she wants the best for her daughter. She believes that if she learned English better, she would be able to help her daughter with her homework when she goes to school.

Amy is another student who dropped out of high school for two weeks but returned to school. She said she dropped out because she didn't understand the classes and knew that she was going to fail the school year if she continued. She said that she was doing poorly in school because of personal problems. "I felt sad and lonely because my boyfriend broke up with me," she said.

Amy said that what made her change her mind about returning to high school was that most of her friends were advising her to go back to school. Amy added, "My friends made me believe in myself again. My friends advised me to think about my future and that is how I realized that dropping out of high school wasn't the best thing to do."

She added that the days that she was out of school affected her a lot because now she really is about to fail her classes. However in the future she is planning to stay in high school and after high school she hopes to continue her education.

According to Fernando Moreno, a high school counselor, Hispanics have the highest rate of drop outs because of lack of success in school and because of a high level of frustration learning English. Other issues are lack of support and supervision from family members to motivate them to study. Mr. Moreno said that Hispanics students don't have many role models at the school level. "How many teachers from El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru are teaching the students?" he asked.

Mr. Fernando Moreno said that in order for Hispanics students to stay in school. They need to change some beliefs and thoughts. "Many Hispanics students say to themselves, 'My parents, relatives and many people in my community did not graduate from high school or college and they are fine in this country,'" he said. Some students who drop out believe that even though they work very hard with low pay, they are much better than in their country. They are satisfied working in low skilled jobs.

Mr. Moreno believes that schools should empower parents to help supervise students to increase expectations and change their beliefs about themselves. He also said school need "individual follow up when students are not achieving and plans to address their lack of success." Finally, he would like to increase role models at school level, increase vocational programs and have flexible school programs to help students who need to work.

Copyright © 1998, Silver International, Montgomery Blair H.S., Silver Spring, MD USA

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