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What are the pros and cons of high school students’ holding jobs? Would you encourage a teenager who did not have to get a job to wait or, by all means, to get a part-time job now?

The majority of high school students are members of the workforce, and “having a job” currently has more status than athletics or academics. In fact, some educators are worried about the number of students who do not have school as an important priority; they find that these students have had to cut back on homework assignments because their long working hours keep them from completing the school work at more than a poor level.

Many people feel that teenagers should go to work in order to increase the family income. Interestingly, more middle class teenagers than low-class teenagers are working. More part-time jobs are available in the affluent suburbs, and poor teenagers have more difficulty arranging transportation to work.

Some individuals maintain that teenagers should work because working teaches responsibility, reliability, teamwork, and the value of the dollar. Others disagree and believe that work disrupts the students’ planning for future careers by encouraging them to devalue school learning. Because many working teenagers do not need money, they may learn “premature affluence” rather than the dollar’s valuethey learn about spending and immediate gratification rather than economy. Some experts even believe the availability of money and the stress that arises from having a job contribute to the high rate of alcohol and drug use among teenagers.

One definable position would be to suggest that work is a positive growth experience as long as the teenager keeps his or her work hours down to a reasonable level, such as 12 hours during the week and 6 more hours during the weekend. The state of Florida has officially taken an “all things in moderation” approach by passing in 1986 a law that limits high school students to 30 hours of work a week. What do you think?

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