There’s no single reason why America’s dropout rate is so abominable, but here are some factors. The Reuters piece focuses largely on the cost of school, pointing to a Pew Research Center survey that found two-thirds of young Americans said they stopped their education in order to support a family, while 48 percent said they could not afford the expense. However, the survey included responses from both people who dropped out of school and those who never attended in the first place.
There’s another factor at play, though, which has less to do with the cost of a degree, and more to do with the changing nature of our job market, as well as the way our education system has failed to keep up with it. Today, it’s harder to earn a middle-class wage without a college degree. As the Harvard study notes, high school grads make up just 41 percent of the U.S. workforce, down from 72 percent forty years ago. All of the net job growth since the 1970s has been in occupations that require some post-secondary education, whether it’s a bachelor’s or an associate’s degree. That demand for skills is causing more students to sign up for school than ever before.
Read more. [Image: Pew Research Center]