Teenage Employmeny

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Bachelor's November 2001

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The perils of teenage employment Q Professor Greenberger, should teenagers work? The virtues of work have been rather uncritically espoused over the years by a number of blue-ribbon commissions which assumed that integrating youngsters into the work force at an earlier time in life would help to cure many of the ilss of the younger generation. But subsequent research has shown that extensive part-time employment takes a toll on the growth and development of youngsters. Q In what ways is work detrimental? One major study has found that kids who work long hours beginning at an early point in their high-school careers are at greater risk for dropping out. Research also suggests that working has contributed to a diminution in the quality of high-school education. When teachers look into a classroom and see tired faces and know that everybody has been at work the night before and is going back that afternoon, they often cut back on their expectations because it's hopeless to do otherwise.

By the same token, students use a variety of corner-cutting strategies, including taking less demanding courses, to make their work schedules compatible with the demands of the school. The investment of teenagers in long hours of work is one of the contributing factors in the decline of quality education. Evidence also suggests that working long hours has a small but significant negative effects on grades. I know of no study showing that working is good for youngsters' grade-point averages. Q Just how many hours of work a week is harmful? We sugest that sophomores in high school should not work more than 15 hours a week and seniors not more than 20 hours. We would also be particularly wary of work during the actual school week, which is most likely to interfere with doing assignments...

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