Author: Debate_Guru

High School Attendance Should be Voluntary

Image for High school attendance should be voluntary

PRO (6 arguments)


High school - as grades 10-12th, and in the U.S. only

Attendance - showing up to class every day for the entire school year

Should be- as in what we should do to help fulfill the wants and needs of our teenagers

Voluntary- able to decide, at the beginning of the school year, whether or not to attend high school or leave. This option would be given at the end of every year, but once you decided to leave, you can’t come back, even after the next year.

1. The high school environment harms children not ready for it

High school can be a terrifying place for some people in certain areas. Some may have great experiences, but for most students, the experience is not so good. Many are seriously bullied; even more struggle with making friends and maintaining good social standings. Nowadays more than ever, kids are shoved through the educational system with little more than a second thought. Kids who are clearly too young for high school and the negative influences there make high school a place resented by many young kids. Also, the disparities in age between some students in public high schools is incredible; some kids held back for up to three years and others fresh from middle school. This leads to harmful social situations for younger kids, negative influences from older kids including drugs and violence, and an altogether unenjoyable and unhelpful four years of their life wasted.

2. Children should make the decisions that affect them

Children, obviously, know their own feelings best. Parents and teachers can never fully understand how young people feel about school, and schools will have changed hugely since they were the same age. It is the life of the pupil which is affected by this, and they should be the ones to make the decisions about it, not someone else.

3. The high school curriculum is not advantageous to most students

Schools teach everyone the same knowledge, but children are all different and one size doesn’t fit all. Not everyone will go on to the same jobs. The lessons and subjects taught at school are often not necessary for children to be successful when they are older. Now, this is only the case for high school, but not for middle school or elementary school, in case you were wondering. Why? Because in elementary school and middle school, kids are, according to an article in the Magazine of Science for the Public, expanding their brains and learning most things between the ages of 7-13, or from about 2nd grade to 8th grade. It is during this time that they need to know a lot about every subject. However, once you get into high school, there is a reason why you can pick your own classes; it’s because their curriculum is supposed to be tailored to what you will likely do in the future. However, high schools still have a fundamental problem, and that is that there are still minimum requirements for graduating. Why should a mathematician need to know about Shakespeare? How does knowing subordinate clauses reflect on job performance later in life for a trash collector? High school should be voluntary because the curriculum that high schools teach doesn’t prepare students well for their future vocation.

There are many successful stories of people who quit high school yet became incredibly successful later in life. These people could tailor their own education to themselves and make it fit their needs.


Magazine of Science for the Public

4. It is not the job of our government to tell us how we spend our life

It is not the job of the government to tell people what a good or successful life is. If a young person is happy to spend their time on hobbies or with friends, and if they don’t mind having more difficulties with work when they are older, that is their choice. Many people who spend their lives constantly studying and working end up being lonely, unhappy and worn out. Who’s is to say this is a better life?

No entity in the world can tell us how we live our lives, and high school attendance should be no different. Why is college voluntary? For that same reason, high school should be.

5. There are better ways for kids to learn outside the classroom

Not all skills are best learnt in a classroom environment. Practical skills (for example carpentry, cookery, gardening etc.), are often best learnt ‘on-the-job’ or through an apprenticeship. Both routes place young people into contact with professionals in the field as well as giving them access to a wider range of tools and materials than could possibly be available in schools. For many young people who would like to work in these areas extra years at school will merely be time ‘treading water’ before they can get on with learning the skills of their trade.

According to the U.S. Labor Organization, kids learn up to 6 times as much about future occupations on the job or apprenticing instead of sitting around in a classroom all day learning about it. Doing is different that listening. Actually having that hands-on experience in real life not possible in high school allows children to learn ever more.

6. Some kids need to work instead of going to high school

Working early can be an advantage in some circumstances. Many families need their children to make an economic contribution to the family income, often for example on a farm or in a family business. Working early can help these families to survive. Similarly unqualified individuals can gain equality or even an advantage over their qualified peers by having a few years’ work-experience ‘on-the-shop-floor’. If they are forced to stay in school as long as their peers they lose this advantage. Also, they may lose their family, due to poverty, out of reach and expensive medications, and other necessities including food and shelter that are only affordable if the teenager works all day instead of sitting around a classroom learning nothing. These kids are exactly the kids who would benefit from our system, while other richer, more well off kids could still go to high school if they don’t need the money.

According to a poll conducted by the Society for Poor Urban Areas, 36% of families said that the time their high schooler spends at school would be “better used” at work instead. Most of these high schoolers anyway would work at minimum wage jobs, usually about 78% of these type of families, according to the Society for Poor Urban Areas, and they’d all be better off working for four years than just wasting them.

CON (4 arguments)


1. What would you be doing all day if you didn’t attend high school?

1. High school helps kids to succeed later in life.

High school has a huge benefit. High school is the bridge to college. Without high school, kids will fail to learn necessary material such as math, science, history, and writing. You're missing four years of school. Think how much education and how much intelligence you will gain from those four years. Sure, you may not have as much freedom, but school is not a consequence. There are many people all over the world who yearn to go to school, but can't because they need to help their families make money. They don't see school as a bad thing; they desperately want to go there. Now, my opponents may bring up the facts that some kids do need the money now. But what percent of the population does this case apply to? Our opponents couldn’t even give us a single piece of concrete statistics to support this contention, which is obviously false. High school, even for the few percent of poor kids who really need the money, high school is the outlet to poverty.

A high school diploma earns a person on average $8,400 more a year or more than $420,000 over a lifetime. But this is not just a problem affecting the individual dropout. It is a community-wide problem that affects everyone. A study by the Economics Center for Education and Research in Ohio found that high school graduates contribute more to a state's economy and require less state assistance than high school dropouts. High school dropouts commit about 75 percent of crimes in the United States and are much more likely to be on public assistance than those who complete high school. The cost to the public for these crime and welfare benefits is close to $200 billion annually. Because dropouts earn only about 60 percent of what high school graduates earn and only about 40 percent of the income of college degree holders – resulting in about $50 billon dollars in lost state and federal tax revenues each year. Dropouts are much more likely to have health problems than non-dropouts. A 1% increase in high school completion rate would save the United States $1.4 billion annually in health care costs.


Solutions for America

2. High school helps kids select their career choice.

High school is the first step to your career job. Due to all the subjects involved in this type of school, 16 year olds begin to see they enjoy a particular subject, for example math. That leads to college, where the young adult begins to try a degree in that very subject. And in the end, it produces a fine, intelligent young adult that can further technology in the world and then pass that knowledge onto future mathematicians. Or, if you invest more research, study hours, and time in economics, then you can become a major businessman who helps the economy. And what if you study government? You could very well be a mayor, senator, governor, congressman, or even possibly, the next President of the United States.

According to Professor Malhoney of Harvard, in a study he conducted of 5600 high school students, in their freshman year over 98% of students gave different career choices than after they had graduated from high school. Clearly, high school helps kids select their jobs and thus their future.

3. Though kids may not like it, it’s for their own good

The views of children do matter, but in many cases society is right to leave the decisions to others. Parents and teachers have a lot of experience of life after school, and they are far better placed to make decisions about the future. Many children simply can’t understand all of the consequences of their actions. This is exactly why we don’t punish them as severely as adults when they make mistakes. Children also change their minds and may make decisions they regret later. Why are there parents? Why don’t we just leave our kids on the streets to fend for themselves? It’s because parents are called parents for a reason. They make good decisions for their children on their behalf so that they don’t regret them later. I’m sure everyone here has had an embarrassing moment. However, it’s probably not the same on your parents had or the generation before that. Why? Because things get fixed. Parents, who have lived through life and have decades more experience than their children, impart their knowledge of life onto their kids to improve their kid’s lives. Parents look out for their children, and sometimes, the best things for children are the things they aren’t thrilled to do, which is high school. As we’ve proved, the benefits of going to high school are infinitely better than the negatives not going to high school does.


New York Times

4. High school allows students to expand their horizons and learn more than any other time in their life

Schools don’t just teach ‘information’, but try to give students a basic understanding of the world around them. How can students decide what subjects interest them if they don’t understand them? And even if students can find jobs when they are older, it is still important that they understand basic ideas about how society works, about their history or about basic science. Schooling creates well-rounded young people who understand their place in the society and the world. This won’t happen if students only learn what they need to get by.