Responsible Decision-Making

Family Resources on Making the Most of Education

Project and Purpose

Students will answer questions considering the earning levels of people who do not complete high school and earn a diploma.

Video Overview:

Teens like to spend money on clothes, cars, music, games, everything! Many teens work at a minimum wage job to earn spending money but plan on making more money as they grow into adulthood. But what happens when teens don’t graduate high school?

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Making the Most of Education

According to a counselor at Operation Bright Future, a truancy prevention program, 21- to 24- year-olds who are not high school graduates earn $14,000 less per year than their peers who have a high school diploma. When compared with peers who have earned a college degree, the amount doubles to a nearly $30,000 difference.

It’s important for teens to understand that an education translates into not just more money but more job choices and more job satisfaction in their future. Dropping out of school offers little hope for teens who want to make a solid living, be financially stable and enjoy their future jobs.

If this lesson was used in the classroom: Students learned about the monetary value of staying in school; students who complete high school have a much higher lifetime earning potential than students who do not finish high school. In class students discussed the types jobs and income students can expect based on the level of education.

Getting Ready for the Conversation

The video for this module features students and experts who discuss the value of education.

Conversation Starters and Practice at Home

The first item is for follow-up after viewing the lesson video and participating in class activities.

What are your career goals? Will this lead to a living wage? What kinds of support will you need to achieve this? Why?

Why do you think some students drop out of school? What are some ways to prevent students from dropping out of school?

List a month’s worth of expenses for the family. How much would someone have to earn to pay for these expenses and have some savings left over? What are the general things a person should do to be able to earn a living wage in adulthood?

Schools to Home Resources on Making the Most of Education

Discussion and Self-Reflection Questions

  • What jobs do Melissa and Ingrid list as those you can get without an education?
  • According to Martin Segura of Operation Bright Future, what is the average salary for a 21-to 24-year-old who DID NOT graduate from high school? What is the average salary of a 21-to 24-year-old who DID graduate from high school? What is the numerical difference?
  • What does this last comment in the video mean to you: And later on is the rest of your life?
  • What things would you like to have in the future ((consider both things you can buy and things you would like to attain, such as parenthood)? Are those things attainable without a high school education? Why?
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