The Importance of Identifying and Studying the Reasons Why Special Education Students Drop Out of High School

Richard Wieringo


The impact of the recession on the American economy is felt by the majority as the rate of unemployment increases and the difficulty of getting a job doubles. The need for higher education has then been highlighted as many companies look for, if not college graduates, then at least a high school diploma in their applicants. “The importance of a high school education as a minimum standard for employment has dramatically increased over the past fifty years” (Brown and Chairez, 1999). This is made even more evident nowadays. Americans’ professional and monetary successes have always been mostly dependent on their educational achievements; and the same is still true today, especially in the face of a nationwide financial crisis (Shore, 2003). The increasing rate of high school students dropping out is a cause for great concern as it is inevitable for most of these students to have educational deficiencies that unconstructively affect their career opportunities and social interests throughout their adult lives (Rumberger, 2003). This then augments “a pattern of increased economic marginalization for those Americans with the least education” (Shore, 2003). Dropping out of high school—aside from the fact that it nullifies the students’ chances of going to college— reduces one’s career choices and advantages in a complex economic and social climate characterized by dynamic sophistication and finesse (Strother, 2006). Employment opportunities in today’s high skill-high wage economy require advanced skills that dropouts generally do not possess.

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