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School Drop Outs/labeling Theory & Social Learning Theory

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School Dropouts

Florida A&M University


Over the years dropout rates have decreased but still target African Americans and Hispanics mostly in our society today. Nowadays they are labeled to fail based on race, background, pregnancy, and/or peers. Since the 1970s, there has been a growing effort to improve high school graduation rates. In 1983, the National Commission on Excellence in Education sounded the alarm because U.S. educational standards had fallen behind other major industrialized countries (Wikipedia, 2011). The commission called for a reform of the nation's educational system in fundamental ways and a renewal of the nation's commitment to high-quality education (Suh & Suh, 2007). This racial profile reaches nearly one half for dropouts. Blacks and Hispanics are already judged to be delinquents so only by dropping out would put them at a greater measure (Sweeten, Bushway, & Patemoster, 2009). Although receiving an education is important to success later in life, students who are dropping out of high school and not receiving a high school diploma is a problem that our country is facing. Recent data shows that there is about a 12 percent dropout rate and that the dropout rate of more secluded areas can increase to about 20 or even 40 percent.

School Dropouts

There's good and bad outcomes of being a school drop-out. Compared to high school graduates, adolescents who drop out of school are more likely to have a range of negative outcomes, including lower verbal capacities; however, the true nature of this association is not well-understood. Dropping out of school could have an important effect on reducing verbal skills, or the link between dropping out of school and diminished verbal skills could be a spurious association that is the result of unmeasured confounding variables (Vaughn, Beaver, Wexler, Delisi, & Roberts, 2011). On the other hand, there are some that have no college degree and have high paying jobs. Those dropouts in the 1970s until now benefitted without a high school diploma. But now it'll get you nowhere. Even though you drop-out, you can still obtain a G.E.D allowing you to into college/university. In present day 2011 with the economy at this pace it'll be hard to compete with people who have higher knowledge levels. Also, you miss out on the opportunities to network, meet, and interact with different people. Self-esteem issues will affect one to drop out because of negative connotations. Dropping out can get you nowhere sometimes. Many result to drugs, delinquency, pregnancy, and lower poverty levels. Individuals with a higher level of education usually get ahead because they have much more to offer than those that dropout. Dropouts only get jobs whereas graduates have career paths that they follow.

There are several different theories than can be applied to being a dropout. The two that will be discussed and given examples of are the Social Learning Theory and the Labeling Theory.

The social learning theory was proposed by Albert Bandura and has become perhaps the most influential theory of learning and development. While rooted in many of the basic concepts of traditional learning theory, Bandura believed that direct reinforcement could not account for all types of learning. The Social Learning Theory focuses on the learning that occurs within a social context. It considers that people learn from one another, including such concepts as observational learning, imitation, and modeling. Statistics from a study on educational outcomes show that by current location and location at age 16 the percent of high school dropouts from urban and rural areas were 18.9% for urban and 28.6% for rural. The residential location where a person lives can greatly affect the educational performance.

School resources, family resources, and economic resources are all contributors to the dropout rate based upon location. The school resources in most rural areas are lacking in comparison to urban areas. A reason for this is largely due to economic resources. Many rural schools do not receive the funding that urban schools do. It is said that inner-city schools tend to provide, on average, higher expenditure per pupil than rural area schools. Due to this, rural schools are not able to provide the necessary educational resources that children need to succeed. These educational resources include things such as computers, books, qualified teachers, and updated facilities (Lund, 2009).

Howard Becker developed his theory of labeling in the 1963 book Outsiders: Studies in the Sociology of Deviance. Labeling theory or social reaction theory is concerned with how the self-identity and



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