TribLIVE

| USWorld


 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Report: Dropouts cost nation $1.8B each year

Daily Photo Galleries

By The Associated Press
Monday, Feb. 25, 2013, 8:00 p.m.
 

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.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 
 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Internet rules in line for big shift
  2. Big Bang ‘waves’ go poof under analysis
  3. NASA satellite to track water in soil
  4. Secretary of State Kerry says Cuba talks offer chance to improve lives
  5. Large pipelines proposed to carry gas from shale formations
  6. Colorado to clarify benefit limits over concern welfare, food stamps used to buy legal pot
  7. Balloonists smash records with trans-Pacific flight
  8. Brooklyn warehouse goes up in smoke
  9. ‘Drink of the Devil’ unites formerly feuding families
  10. Prospective juror in Tsarnaev trial cites sympathy for suspect in Boston Marathon bombing
  11. Judge expresses doubt about constitutionality of no-fly list