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Sunday, July 07, 2013

p(job|poor black dropout) = .05

"... if you are a poor African-American high school teenage dropout, your likelihood of having a job is -- 5 percent."


You can put a lot of sociology into that single figure. There are obvious points to be made about relative opportunity versus those with more impressive credentials, about the temptation to a life of crime, etc.  The article linked to mentions a lot of these.

There's also the important point that if you don't have a job, and your friends don't have jobs (and maybe the adults in your household don't), you aren't likely to have good models for what it means to have a job -- basic stuff like you have to show up to work on time, you have to do what your boss tells you to do, etc.

These aren't necessarily things you learn in high school (particularly if you dropped out of an urban high school). You can cut classes,  skip a few homework assignments, talk back somewhat without getting in serious trouble. The workforce is less forgiving, particularly when there are lot of others behind you waiting for that job.