Report: Improved high school graduation rates would boost economyA national education group says the U.S. would see big gains in home and car sales, as well as employment, if high schools boosted their graduation rates.
By: Brian Bull, Wisconsin Public Radio, Superior Telegram
A national education group says the U.S. would see big gains in home and car sales, as well as employment, if high schools boosted their graduation rates.
The Washington D.C.-based Alliance for Excellent Education says nationally, 1.3-million members of the Class of 2010 dropped out. The group’s latest report says if that number was cut in half, there’d be $19-billion more spent on homes, and over $700-million more spent on cars. High school graduates would also collectively earn about $8-billion more in an average year, compared to workers who dropped out of high school.
Furthermore, dropouts are three times more likely to be unemployed than college graduates.
Wisconsin has a 90-percent high school graduation rate. Even so, Alliance spokesman Jason Amos says the state would benefit from improving that number.
“We estimated about 14,000 (Wisconsin) students dropped out from the Class of 2010,” says Amos. “Cutting that drop-out rate in half, you’d have about 7,000 new high school graduates. They’d earn about $72-million more in an average year….that’s about $54-million in spending and an additional $19-million investing. That’d support about 400 new jobs in Wisconsin.”
Patrick Gasper, spokesman for the state Department of Public Instruction, says the Alliance’s findings match those of other groups studying the effects of dropouts. But he says efforts to raise graduation rates could suffer if the governor’s proposed $1-billion cut to schools goes through.
“At a time when the evidence shows us yet again that we should be investing in education as the tool to improve Wisconsin economy, the governor’s budget includes the highest cut to public education in our state’s history.”
Gasper says cuts to schools would affect staffing and class sizes, in ways that would hurt students’ performance.