E2010 Wired

The power of our words can inspire change in a single person, then two, then the world.

Getting High School Dropouts Back in the Race

Displayed boldly on Take Part’s March 2010 Education issue page is a headline that reads, “During the academic year, nearly 7,000 students dropout everyday.” The article opens with the statement that, On average, only 58 percent of students in America’s 50 largest cities make it to commencement. Though suburban students graduate at much higher rates, overall, close to 10 percent of 16- to 24-year-olds in the U.S. do not have diplomas.”[….]

For the sake of driving the point home, I multiplied the 7,000 daily dropouts times an academic year of 180 days, and read the first sentence by noting how many students do not make it to graduation. It reads like this:

“During the academic year, nearly 1,260,000 students dropout. … On average, 42 percent of  students in American’s 50 largest cities DO NOT make it to commencement.”

In short, our nation is losing 42 percent of our country’s future and most precious resource annually at the rate of 1 high school student dropping out every 26 seconds; and at a cost of $30-$40 billion per year.

The Alliance for Excellent Education Issue Brief (10/2007), highlights various annaual and life-time costs associated with high school dropouts, stating:

  • The United States could save between $7.9 and $10.8 billion annually by improving educational attainment among all recipients of Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, food stamps, and housing assistance (Garfinkel et al., 2005).
  • A high school dropout contributes about $60,000 less in taxes over a lifetime (Rouse, 2005).
  • If the male graduation rate were increased by only 5 percent, the nation would see an annual savings of $4.9 billion in crime-related costs (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006b).
  • America could save more than $17 billion in Medicaid and expenditures for health care for the uninsured by graduating all students (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2006a).

Just imagine the quality of life improvement for our youth and our communities if we eliminate the high school dropout crisis in our country! Now that’s something to get us fired up and ready to go to do something about.

Getting fired up for our youth is something we can all embrace. In Texas, there’s a growing group of individuals who are doing just that. They are going door to door, talking to high school students and bringing them back. In Houston during their last walk, 1000 doors were knocked on and 75 of those students talked to went back to school andgraduated.

Join E2010’s group, Walk for Education, and helps us knock on doors and make phone calls to reach our parents and encourage our students to stay in school, to get back to school.

We are applying the same grassroots, volunteer enthusiasm and strategies to making a difference in our neighborhoods. Let’s unite together and stand up for our youth.

Related Articles and Studies

Going Door to Door for No-Show Students

VIPs drop in on HISD dropouts


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