Part-Time Work for High School Students
Should High School (secondary) students be banned from working in part-time jobs?
Please cast your vote after you've read the arguments.
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High School students have to be in school up to the age of 16. Those who choose to stay on after th...
High School students have to be in school up to the age of 16. Those who choose to stay on after that age are also studying full-time. Schoolwork should be their priority, as they aim to get the good grades needed for college and future careers. If students are spending hours each week working in a part-time job, that is bound to have a bad effect on their school work. Homework will be done badly or not at all, and kids who have worked evening shifts will be too tired to learn well in school the next day. Banning students from taking paid jobs will mean they do better in school and come out with better qualifications.
Getting a paid job is a normal part of growing up. For centuries teens were ordinary members of the workforce. And since education became compulsory, hundreds of millions of students have successfully combined school work with a part-time job. Studies have found that working a few hours outside school does not harm achievement, so there is no reason to ban it. Even if having a job did affect students’ education, teens are old enough to make that choice for themselves. It should not be forced on them by an official ban.
Some students may be able to balance school work and jobs without harming their education, but they ...
Some students may be able to balance school work and jobs without harming their education, but they are a minority. Studies find that above about ten hours paid work a week, students do worse at school. And even if students try to limit how long they work for, employers often put pressure on them to put in more hours. At busy times of year like Christmas, holiday periods and stocktaking, students may be pushed into working many extra hours for fear of being sacked.
Having a part-time job can make students more positive about education. Experience of work makes them think about future careers. This may motivate them to go to college, and they see the point in working hard to get good grades so that they can get a better job. And serving customers, working hard in a job, and having to manage their time well can all help students develop a more professional approach to their studies. Finally, most university students have to work to pay their way through college, so having part-time job in school will help to prepare them for this.
Working can have benefits for students, but all too often they are exploited in dead-end jobs. Most...
Working can have benefits for students, but all too often they are exploited in dead-end jobs. Most of the part-time work students can get is low-paid and low-skilled. It does not stretch them mentally and teaches them little compared to school. Dodgy bosses often treat teens worse then regular employees, for example not giving them holiday pay or proper training. Sometimes the work they do is unsuitable or even dangerous. It is interesting that a Scottish study found very few employers had bothered to get the permits needed for their student workers.
School is not the only place where students can learn. For some skills it is not even the best place to learn. Students with part-time jobs are gaining valuable experience in a whole range of areas. They have to keep good time, work in a team, communicate with others and present themselves well. They learn self-discipline and gain in confidence. Less academic students may find the training they get with their job much more interesting and useful than the lessons they have at school. And a job may bring students into contact with people from different social backgrounds in a way school doesn’t. All of these mean that having a part-time job should be encouraged rather than banned.
Allowing school students to work part-time harms older workers. Teens are cheaper – in the UK there...
Allowing school students to work part-time harms older workers. Teens are cheaper – in the UK there is no minimum wage for under-16s and it is common everywhere for younger workers to be paid less. They can also be pushed around more easily and are unlikely to protest or go on strike. For these reasons many bosses prefer to employ three part-time students for a job, rather than take on a full-time adult. Stopping students taking paid work would therefore create jobs for unemployed adults and help fight poverty.
This argument is bad economics – there is not a fixed lump of work to be shared out, with winners and losers. Instead the economy will grow as more workers become available – and will shrink if millions of part-time student workers are not available. Studies have found that student jobs often pay more than the minimum wage, so they are not under-cutting adults. And adults are still needed for working regular hours while teens are in school. Indeed, adults don’t want to work the evening and weekend shifts that students usually cover.
Part-time work has a bad effect on schoolwork in two ways. Teens have less time to put into their s...
Part-time work has a bad effect on schoolwork in two ways. Teens have less time to put into their studies, but they also get money in their pockets. Too much money too young is a bad thing. Having a lot of money gives them the cash to fund their social life. So when they are not doing their job, they are out partying – no wonder they have no time to do homework and are too tired to focus in class. Income from a job also allows them to fund bad habits, such as drinking and drugs.
What a negative view of young people! If this was true, then banning students from part-time work would lead to many more quitting school at 16 in order to work full time. But most young people are sensible with their money, using it to buy clothes, gadgets, music and holidays. Studies have shown that older teens who work are good at saving their money, often putting it towards college.
School is about much more than lessons. Some of the best parts of education take place outside clas...
School is about much more than lessons. Some of the best parts of education take place outside class time, such as sports, drama, music and voluntary work. When students take part-time work, they miss out on all these opportunities even if their homework doesn’t suffer. Students need time to grow up and become well-rounded individuals, rather than being shoved as soon as possible into the world of work.
We must trust our teens to find their own way in the world, deciding which opportunities they will take. For most students, getting a part-time job is an important way of gaining independence. If we keep them wrapped up safe at home and school, they will never develop an adult identity. The danger then is they won’t be able to cope when they have to go to college or leave home for the first time.
What do you think?