We have a crisis on our hands; a crisis that touches every aspect of our society – socially and economically. During the 2008-2009 school years, 1,260,000 students dropped out of school nation- wide. Studies have shown that when students do not finish high school they are more likely to depend on public assistance, be incarcerated, contribute less in income taxes, and ultimately cost the nation billions of dollars per year.
For a student not to graduate from high school, it typically means that they will have a tough road ahead of them. Statistics like these have built political momentum in an effort to curb the number of students who drop out of high school each year. National influential policy makers such as The Obama Administration and The National Governors Association [NGA] have both made dropout prevention one of the nation’s top priorities. “President Obama recently highlighted the dropout crisis: his first address to a Joint Session of Congress linking the nation’s economic competitiveness to graduation from high school and the attainment of a postsecondary degree or credential.”
The key to addressing the dropout issue is to better understand the issue. Learn more about the effects dropouts have had nationally and in Colorado. Find out details of the problem, including how dropouts are defined and measured nationally and locally, and learn why it is important to address this issue now and what you can do to help youth stay on the path towards graduation.
The statistics are astounding – annually 1.3 million students will not graduate from high school. Their lack of a high school diploma leaves these youth at higher risk of unemployment, of needing government assistance, and even of cycling in and out of the prison system.
In 2009, The Alliance for Excellent Education updated their policy brief The High Cost of High School Dropouts: What the Nation Pays for Inadequate High Schools. They have looked at the earning power of dropouts, the impact dropouts have on our economy, and even how dropouts fare in difficult economic times – like in our most recent recession.
This brief (PDF) offers a great overview of the recent research on the impacts of dropouts. It is a sobering examination of the problem we face.