Recession Keeps Kids In School

Kathleen Carrasco
Kathleen Carrasco

One upside to a downward economy is students are re-thinking their plans to drop out of school.

Local teachers we spoke with tell us they now often hear their students tell them they have decided to stay in school because of the atmosphere in the working world.

Kathleen Carrasco dropped out of high school last year because "I never went to school, if I didn't like school why would I want to stay in school, so I decided to drop out."

That is a decision she has come to regret because "the only thing I do is be lazy, I don't do anything and I can't get a job, so that's the reason I want to go back to school."

Kathleen's story is similar to others two Randall High School teachers seen first hand, whether it be students going back to school or deciding to stay because they know getting a job now is harder than ever.

One student in particular sticks out in their minds.  Academic Achievement teacher Peggy Johnson says, "when I had her two years ago, we would have been lucky to get her out of high school. So for her to be going to college and seeing 'I don't want to work for minimum wage the rest of my life, I don't want to work this hard the rest of my life,' I think it shows great strides in how they've matured."

They say the recession has also made them drive home even more the importance graduation.

Academic Achievement teacher Paige TeBeest says, "we tell them how important it is to stay in school, to do well on exit exams in order to graduate and actually get a diploma as opposed to a certificate of completion."

The U.S. Department of Commerce reports an American worker with less than a high school education earns an average $19,000 per year.

As for Kathleen, she says she is now working on her G.E.D. and plans to go to college to get a nursing degree.