The Wrangler

Should Teens Be Allowed to Work During High School?

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Many students are faced with the decision once they find a job; do I choose my new career to pursue or my education?

Many students are faced with the decision once they find a job; do I choose my new career to pursue or my education?

TIffany Noll

TIffany Noll

Many students are faced with the decision once they find a job; do I choose my new career to pursue or my education?

Stephanie Pocci, Photojournalist

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Many students, not just in YLHS, have part-time jobs.  Whether they were forced to apply for one by their parents or did so by their own accord, having a job is time consuming and stressful.  However, is it really beneficial for the student to be working at such an early age?

 

As of 2017, the employment rate of minors is approximately 26.4%, with 49.8% searching for a new job (EPI).  Research has shown that high school students who work during their high school career have a higher chance of not continuing their education after high school.  Students especially “who work more than 20 hours on average may have lower grade point averages and more likely to drop out of the school…” (ChildTrends).  Students may believe that the money they are making with their part-time job is more than enough, and may drop out to pursue a full time career with their work instead of furthering their education for better employment opportunities.  Even if the student ages and eventually wants to attend college again to further their working career, it will be much more difficult due to bills and other responsibilities.  It will prolong the process and require much more effort and due stress on the adult.  

 

A job, of course, also provides a distraction to academics.  Students aged 16 and 17 are allowed to be kept at work until 10 P.M., so it provides less time to do homework.  Staying late at work means that these hardworking students aren’t studying for exams, most likely just going home exhausted.  Not to mention, the next day students can be quite tired from working late shifts the night before and have a hard time grasping tomorrow’s new material at school.

 

A student throwing themselves into the workforce early on can also mean that childhood is cut short.  For most of these students, “once [they] begin working, [they] will work for the rest of their lives” (StudentTutorBlog), so they will lose that chance to stay carefree for a little longer.  This is especially a confusing time for these minors since high school is an awkward in-between phase of childhood and adulthood.  Feeling overwhelmed with responsibility in high school may lead to students be apprehensive to pursuing a higher education or just drop out of high school completely.  

 

There also comes the argument that some students may need to help support their family by working part time after school, but there are other solutions to that.  I do admit that government assistance may not be enough for a family in need, but it does offer a significant form of income.  The U.S. should also consider making acts protecting students in high school from working by providing families with better government assistance.  Fellow YLHS student, Ethan Pocci (9), sheds his light on this topic and states, “There are different, viable ways of dealing with poverty in a family…but, forcing your child to work, is not one of them.”

 

Allowing students to work during high school only heightens the dropout rates and decrease the chances of students pursuing college and better employment opportunities.  The student’s childhood is cut short and it also provides a distraction from academics and studying for exams.  There are major consequences to having a part-time job in high school that cannot be ignored.  

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