Thursday, September 20, 2007

The cost of Alabama's dropouts

The Alliance for Excellent Education, a nonprofit advocacy outfit, seeks to illustrate the benefits of quality education. Today, they released a report calculating some of the ways high school dropouts affect Alabama. For example:

Alabama would save $245 million in health care costs for each class of dropouts, over their lifetimes, had these dropouts stayed in school and earned their diplomas.

Alabama households would have more than $1.5 billion more in accumulated wealth if all heads of households had graduated from high school.

More than $2.1 billion would be added to Alabama's economy by 2020 if students of color graduated at the same rate as white students.

If Alabama's high schools graduated all students ready for college, the state would save more than $53 million a year in community college remediation costs and lost earnings.

Alabama's economy would see a combination of savings and revenue of almost $125 million in reduced crime spending and increased earnings each year if the male high school graduation rate increased by 5 percent.

Bob Wise, former governor of West Virginia and president of the alliance, said "All of us pay the price--not just the dropout, who is looking at a severely limited future, but also the rest of us, who need these new members of the workforce prepared to support the nation in a 21st Century world that is becoming more and more competitive.

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