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Alliance for Excellent Education Urges Congressional Candidates to Invest in Nation’s Economic Future by Addressing Dropout Crisis

Press Release:

Alliance for Excellent Education Urges Congressional Candidates to Invest in Nation’s Economic Future by Addressing Dropout Crisis

Alliance Sends New Report to All Candidates to Make Connection Between Education and Economy

As Congressional candidates make proposals to improve America’s sagging economy, a new report issued by the Alliance for Excellent Education on the heels of the presidential nominating conventions shows that the best stimulus package is a high school diploma.

In Dropouts, Diplomas, and Dollars: U.S. High Schools and the Nation’s Economy, the Alliance argues that improving the nation’s high schools directly benefits not only the financial wellbeing of each citizen, but the ultimate economic success of the entire nation.

“While the focus during the past two weeks understandably has been on the presidential candidates, bold federal commitment is required also from all candidates running for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “Voters are well aware that the nation is slipping in international academic rankings, that our high school graduation rate is too low, and that our students are increasingly less prepared to compete in the global economy. Voters want to hear that all federal candidates—Congressional and presidential—take this issue as seriously as they do and are committing to taking action in Washington.

“Simply cutting the dropout rate by one half,” Wise continued, “would benefit federal taxpayers with $45 billion in new tax revenues or savings. For any Congressional candidate, the best strategy to improve the state or national economy is sharply reducing the one million high school dropouts a year.”

The Alliance’s new report compiles compelling data on a state and national basis, examining how and why the number of dropouts directly affect economic health and stability. For example:

  • More than 1.2 million students did not graduate from American high schools in 2008; the lost lifetime earnings in America for that class of dropouts alone totals over $319 billion.
  • America would save more than $17 billion in health care costs over the course of the lifetimes of each class of dropouts had they earned their diplomas.
  • American households would have over $74 billion more in accumulated wealth if all heads of households had graduated from high school.
  • More than $310 billion would be added to the American economy by 2020 if students of color graduated at the same rate as white students.
  • If American high schools graduated all students ready for college, the U.S. would save more than $3.7 billion a year in community college remediation costs and lost earnings.
  • The American economy would see a combination of savings and revenue of more than $7.7 billion in reduced crime spending and increased earnings each year if the male high school graduation rate increased by just 5 percent.

Dropouts, Diplomas, and Dollars: U.S. High Schools and the Nation’s Economy is available here

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The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington-based policy, research, and advocacy organization that works to make every child a graduate, prepared for postsecondary education and success in life.

For more information about the Alliance for Excellent Education, please visit: www.all4ed.com.

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Every Child a Graduate. Every Child Prepared for Life.