Wah-ha-ha-ha-ha! Today’s data is gathered from a report by the Alliance for Excellent Education. “The High Cost of High School Dropouts; What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools.”
On any given day from September to May or June, more than seven thousand students become dropouts. EVERY DAY! In one school year, that adds up to about 1.3 million students who will not graduate from high school on time, with their peers. That’s roughly a 70% graduation rate. Without their diploma, odds are pretty high that we will be subsidizing their existence. as they will be receiving government assistance, imprisoned, and will likely be job hoppers.
High school dropouts will be unemployed periodically. Even when they are working, they will earn much less than their graduating peers. In 2005, the difference was nearly $10,000. In 2010, it is probably more. The average annual income for a high school dropout in 2005 was $17,299, compared to $26,933 for a high school graduate, a difference of $9,634.
High school dropouts need our assistance. According to a 2005 analysis, each dropout, over his or her lifetime, costs the nation approximately $260,000. They must often rely on public services, including government healthcare, food stamps, and housing assistance. Estimated losses to businesses and taxpayers is $20 BILLION annually.
Unless high schools are able to graduate their students at higher rates, more than 12 million students will drop out during the course of the next decade. The result will be a loss to the nation of $3 trillion.
The Alliance’s purpose is to show how improving graduation rates will benefit society. The report is concise, but jam-packed with information, including state-by-state graduation rates. It is definitely worth a read.
There are a lot of factors that contribute to a student’s decision to drop out of high school. It wasn’t something that just “happened one day,” it is the last straw in a series of events that left a young person feeling disconnected from his/her peers. The erosion began long before ninth grade. This from the National Dropout Prevention Center at Clemson University:
A  study of the best research on dropout prevention shows that a single event rarely causes a child to drop out of school. Dropping out almost always is the result of a long process of disengagement that sometimes begins before the child enrolls in kindergarten.
Kindergarten? I never realized that! In every community there are opportunities to reach out to young students. Reading a book can be a great “ice breaker,” because you can share or talk, or even not talk, and build a bridge for the future. Whether you are reading with your children or spending a little bit of time each week in a local school … you ARE making a difference.
Before every University of Virginia home football game, one of the players introduces their “hero in education,” a teacher or mentor who helped them in school and sparked a love of learning (sometimes where there had been none). It is my favorite pre-game event.
Do you have a favorite “this person changed my life” story? We’d love to hear yours.
source: Alliance for Excellent Education, August 2009 study; image credit yeKcim on www.OpenClipArt.org