If you're like most parents, you have big dreams for your child. You imagine a good life, a secure and exciting job, and a shining future. But dropping out of high school puts much of that at risk. And studies show that one out of four high school students leaves before graduating.

Aside from the educational ramifications, dropping out of high school places students at a long-term disadvantage. In fact, a high school dropout earns $260,000 less over his or her lifetime than a high school graduate and is 72 percent more likely to be unemployed, according to the National Education Association (NEA).

"We've identified the crisis, and it will take everyone sharing responsibility to correct it," says NEA President Reg Weaver. "Increased parental involvement plays a pivotal role in reducing the dropout rate of our youngsters."

If teachers and parents work together, Weaver says, they can make a big difference. Here are the NEA's tips for parents who want to make sure their kids stay in school:

  • Monitor Your Child's Academic Progress Year-Round. Summer is a wonderful time to relax, but take advantage of this extra time for learning, too. Once the school year begins, check in with teachers and advisors on a regular basis – not just at report card time. This will help you know immediately if your child is struggling, so that you can figure out how to help them, before they're too far behind the eight ball.
  • Urge Your Child to Seek Extra Support. There's no shame in asking for help. Extended learning time – such as tutoring or after-school classes can be the missing catalysts needed to succeed in challenging courses. And they don't have to cost an arm and a leg. Many teachers or school Honors Society students offer free tutoring.
  • Involve the Entire Community in Dropout Prevention. Advocate for family-friendly policies that provide time off for employees to attend parent-teacher conferences.
  • Provide Teachers Wiith Information About Your Child's Habits. When the school year rolls around, have a chat with your child's teacher. Giving details on their behavior, strengths, special talents, and weaknesses can provide educators with insight into how to maximize learning success.
  • Ensure Educators Have the Training and Resources They Need to Prevent Dropouts. Professional development focused on the needs of diverse students could help identify those who are at risk of dropping out.

These tips were provided courtesy of the National Education Association. The NEA is the country 's largest organization of educators, with over 3 million members. www.nea.org