Working increases likelihood that Mexican-origin youths drop out of school

iStock_000004579760XSmallEighth-grade Mexican-American and Anglo youths who worked the most hours at most types of jobs were more likely to drop out, according to research by Anane N. Olatunji of the University of Florida, Gainesville.

The research found that “the typical eight-grade youngster (of Mexican descent) who worked about eight hours per week in 1988 increased his or her odds of dropping out of school within the next two years by about 50 percent over their non-working peers.”

There were notable exceptions, however: Those youths who worked as babysitters “reduced the odds of dropping out of school by tenth grade by about 68 percent compared to their jobless peers.” {Most studies examine the impact on dropping out by the 12th grade.} The researchers suggested that youths who work unsupervised develop responsibility.

Perhaps the most important outcome of this investigation, says Olatunji, is that” after taking all other factors into consideration, the odds of dropping out of school by tenth grade were three-and-a-half times greater for Mexican-origin girls than boys.”

“Dropping Out of High School among Mexican-Origin Youths: Is Early Work Experience a Factor?” Harvard Educational Review; Volume 75, Number 3, Fall 2005; pp 286-303.

Published in ERN November/December 2005 Volume 18 Number 9


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