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Top High Schoolers Say It Will Be Tougher to Find Good Jobs

January 17, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Many top high school students think they’ll have a harder time than their parents in affording college, finding good jobs and buying homes, a survey found.

They also are troubled by a ``decline of moral and social values,″ while conceding they, too, have cheated in school, according to the annual ``Who’s Who Among American High School Students″ survey.

Exhibiting pessimism about their financial futures, 53 percent of the students who responded to the survey said they think they will find it more difficult to afford college than their parents did.

Half said it will be tougher for them to get a good job, and 57 percent said they will find it more difficult to buy a house.

``They have confidence in themselves, but they think they have a tougher road ahead of them and it’s going to be harder,″ said Paul Krouse, publisher of ``Who’s Who Among American High School Students,″ a publication that gives biographical information on more than 700,000 high-achieving high school students nationwide.

Various studies during the past decade have suggested that these teens will be part of the first generation in the nation’s history not to exceed their parents’ education, earning power or income, Krouse said.

``I think the young people are either believing it, or starting to see it for themselves in an older brother or sister,″ Krouse said.

The survey also indicated that the students think the ``decline of moral and social values″ is the greatest crisis confronting the nation and the No. 1 problem facing teen-agers.

``It just seems like nobody cares about anything anymore. It’s like parents aren’t raising their kids,″ said Vakida Wilson, a 17-year-old senior in Kents Store, Va. ``My parents are very strict and I’m glad. I don’t party. I am just concerned about getting my Ph.D.″ in psychology.

The survey said, however, that the students themselves don’t always walk the straight and narrow: Seventy-six percent of the 3,351 students surveyed admitted cheating on their homework and 39 percent had cheated on a test.

``I think cheating is very common,″ said Caroline Lavery, an 18-year-old senior from Melissa, Texas. ``Most of the people don’t think it’s a big deal. I’ve had teachers who I thought were well aware of cheating. I thought, `Surely, they know they (other students) are cheating,′ but they didn’t do anything about it.″

The 86-question survey was sent last summer to 8,000 high school junior and seniors, and 3,351 responded. The students chosen for the survey made up a representative sample of the more than 700,000 students listed in ``Who’s Who Among American High School Students.″ Ninety-eight percent of the students who returned the survey said they planned to go to college, and all had A or B averages.

Nearly nine of 10 students surveyed _ 89 percent _ said cheating was common in their schools and 94 percent of those who admitted cheating were not caught. Of those who were caught, only 5 percent said they were punished.

``In theory, we all want this to be a better world,″ said Jackie Knoll, a 17-year-old senior from Montrose, Mich. ``In reality, we have to get this test done and we have to get an A. I think the bright kids are honest, but there is a lot of pressure to excel.″

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