Monday, November 27, 2006

The high cost of dropping out

Kids are not born with an intrinsic motivation to seek success in school. They have to be taught this preference. With older students, in their teen years, when identity is contested by youth culture, they need to be taught and re taught, they need to be convinced of the basic value of staying in school, of graduating, and of going to college.
Duane Campbell

High costs of dropping out.
COVER STORY: DOWN THE HOLE
Illinois lost nearly $10 billion in 2005 from the “social costs” of high school dropouts. Some argue that boosting school funding will lower those costs, but others are not convinced.


According to Sum, by dropping out of high school, Webb is costing himself an average of close to $8,000 a year in earnings---or nearly $355,000 over the course of his lifetime.
Webb said he remained directionless after he dropped out. He tried to find work but was unable to. His low point came when he got caught in a stolen car and landed in Cook County Jail for three long days and three long nights. "That is the worst place ever," he said.
For that offense, Webb got probation.
But the lower wages and higher unemployment rates also result in costs for everyone, according to Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University.
While dropouts paid an average of $1,761 in state and federal taxes in 2005, graduates paid $4,423---a difference of close to $2,700. For the nearly 880,000 in Illinois without a diploma or GED, in 2005, the "losses" totaled nearly $6.65 billion in earnings and $2.34 billion in state and federal taxes.
The costs were not limited to earnings and taxes.
Sum estimated that dropouts collected an average of $2,905 in public benefits in 2005---about $114 more than graduates. These include costs for health programs like Medicare and Medicaid, public assistance, food stamps and unemployment.
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