Report: Dropouts cost nation $1.8B each year
WASHINGTON — High school dropouts are costing about $1.8 billion in lost tax revenue every year, education advocates said in a report released on Monday.
If states were to increase their graduation rates, state and federal lawmakers could be plugging their budgets with workers' taxes instead of furloughing teachers, closing drivers license offices and cutting unemployment benefits. While advocates tend to focus on the moral argument that all children deserve a quality education, they could just as easily look at budgets' bottom lines.
“This has huge economic implications,” said John Bridgeland, president and CEO of Civic Enterprises, a public policy group that helped write the report.
That's part of the reason Education Secretary Arne Duncan on Monday introduced a three-year, $15 million effort to put AmeriCorps members in 60 of the nation's worst schools. About 650 AmeriCorps members are going to try to raise graduation rates, increase math and reading skills and prepare more students for college.
“Turning around our nation's lowest-performing schools is challenging work that requires everyone to play a part — from teachers, administrators and counselors to business leaders, the philanthropic sector and community members,” Duncan said.
Increased graduation rates might be the most lasting way to turn around struggling budgets.
About 24 state budgets are smaller than they were in 2008, and states are still clawing back to pre-recession levels, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers.
Lawmakers in state capitols are making tough choices about whether to raise taxes to keep classroom lights on or to sell off state agencies to provide health care to seniors. Federal officials, meanwhile, are facing about $85 billion in automatic spending cuts that are set to take hold at the end of the week.
Nationally, a 90 percent graduation rate would yield $1.8 billion in local, state and federal taxes based on $5.3 billion in higher wages, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education.
All told, the group believes a graduation rate at that level would produce $6.6 billion in economic growth.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- White House ricochets in nonprofits’ birth control coverage fray
- NASA expected to hire private rocket
- Retailers warned about software
- Ferguson residents fear return of rioting, looting
- Hackers hit 25,000 government workers
- Reid apologizes for jokes at Asian business event
- Scientists hope tiny robotic bee’s big dreams take flight
- U.S. could have done better, says brother of slain journalist
- Mudslides plague Washington state after wildfire strips hillsides
- Oklahoma City officer accused of sex assaults
- Rehabilitated snowy owl dies in Minnesota