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updated: 2/18/2014 4:42 PM

Put greater focus on dropout rate

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I am writing in response to the Feb. 12 article describing a 60 percent earnings gap between high school and college graduates. My comments, however, concern those 40 percent of high school students who drop out of Chicago Public Schools before graduation.

Graduating high school brings numerous benefits, not only an increased sense of self-worth and confidence but to prepare the student for higher education or to enter the workforce. High school provides an identity and a sense of belonging. Regular attendance also serves to refine social skills in areas of accountability, anger management, communication, cooperation, compromise, patience and sportsmanship.

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Dropping out of high school is not only shortsighted, but it is equivalent to giving up or taking the easy way out. High dropout rates correlate to high unemployment. Joblessness is a major motivator in theft, burglary and violent crimes as individuals without an income resort to stealing money or things that they need or can sell. Unemployment can also lead to gang affiliation and lawlessness as a path to acceptance, money and recognition.

We all agree that more jobs are needed, but more fundamentally our students should stay in school and graduate to invest in their future, prepare for the job market and make a positive contribution to society.

Steve Torres

Arlington Heights

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