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Week in Review: More Links Between Education and the Economy; The Power of Online Learning, New Video Available

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July 09, 2010 09:04 pm

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Week in review july92010 - tired_runner1[1].blogThis week was a very busy one at the Alliance for Excellent Education.

On July 7, the Alliance released the latest findings from its continuing work linking improved educational outcomes to economic returns. Its most recent study, The Economic Benefits of Reducing the Dropout Rate Among Students of Color in the Nation’s Forty-Five Largest Metropolitan Areas, described how cutting the dropout rate in half among students of color will lead to higher earnings, increased home and automobile sales, greater job creation, and overall economic growth.

For example, in the Washington, DC metro area, which includes the city, sixteen counties, and six other independent cities, an estimated 18,200 students of color dropped out from the Class of 2008. Of those students, 6,450 were African American, 4,000 were Latino, 50 were American Indian, and 1,450 were Asian American. Cutting the number of these dropouts in half would likely produce the following economic benefits:

  • increased earnings of $51.6 million (African American), $36.1 million (Latino), $600,000 (American Indian), and $16.3 million (Asian American) in an average year;
  • increased home sales of an additional $88.8 million (African American), $62.7 million (Latino), $1.1 million (American Indian), and $28.8 million (Asian American) in mortgage capacity over what they would spend without a diploma;
  • an additional 550 jobs from the increased spending;
  • an increase in the gross regional product by as much as $132.1 million;
  • an additional $35.9 million (African American), $24.6 million (Latino), $400,000 (American Indian), and $10.8 million (Asian American) spent and an additional $15.7 million (African American), $11.4 million (Latino), $200,000 (American Indian), and $5.5 million (Asian American) invested each year;
  • Click on the image to watch videoan additional $2.6 million (African American), $1.7 million (Latino), $30,000 (American Indian), and $2.6 million (Asian American) spent on vehicle purchases; and
  • increased tax revenues of $6.4 million.

The Washington, DC metro region would also see increased human capital, with 51 percent of these new graduates likely continuing on to pursue some type of postsecondary education after earning a high school diploma.

The Alliance released these findings during a webinar that featured Bob Wise, President, Alliance for Excellent Education, Mike Fernandez, Vice President, Corporate Communications and External Relations, State Farm®, Michael Wotorson, Executive Director, Campaign for High School Equity, and Richard Wells, Vice President, State and Community Dropout Prevention Summits, America’s Promise Alliance. (To watch video or download audio from the webinar, click on the image to the right).

Online Learning: Addressing Challenges, Seizing Opportunities

The following day, on July 8, the Alliance released two new publications on the power of online learning.

The first, The Online Learning Imperative: A Solution to Three Looming Crises in Education, written by Alliance President Bob Wise, argues that state and local public officials are faced with stark realities that will force major changes in traditional education processes, especially for middle and high schools.

This educational “perfect storm” includes:

  • Global skill demands vs. educational achievement. At present, the nation cannot meet increasing national goals for college completion without dramatically improving the quality of learning in secondary schools. Improving high school graduation rates alone will not result in achieving much greater postsecondary achievement unless students are better prepared in high school.
  • The funding cliff. The current recession will not permit continued education spending increases for most states. As a result, state policymakers and education leaders are challenged with public demands for improved student performance while dealing with tightening budgets.
  • Looming teacher shortages. Placing high-performing teachers in thousands of low-performing classrooms becomes even more difficult due to large-scale retirements of experienced teachers in the coming years as well as low retention rates for new educators.

Click on the image to watch videoThe second publication is actually a set of state profiles, “Online Learning: Addressing Challenges and Seizing Opportunities,” that examine how these challenges play out in each state, but also summarize the degree to which each state has embraced online-learning opportunities.

These publications were highlighted during a July 8 webinar that also featured Alliance President Bob Wise, Allison Powell, PhD, Vice President, International Association for K-12 Online Learning, Barbara Treacy, Director, EdTech Leaders Online, Education Development Center, and Lori Westhoff, Principal, Humboldt High School (Humboldt, Iowa).

The webinar also featured videos taken from Humboldt High School and Shady Spring High School in West Virginia that featured interviews with students and administrators on how online learning opportunities are helping to provide students with access to
rigorous courses and teachers with professional development opportunities that would normally be unavailable to them. (Click on the image above to watch video from the webinar).

Next Week: Events on July 14 and 15

The Alliance staff is going to rest up this weekend and be back at it next week with two more events. The first will feature the release of a brand new bipartisan national public opinion poll on the need for immediate education reform. The second is a joint event with the National Association of Secondary School Principals on the role of school leaders in turning around low-performing schools. Learn more about both events and add your name to the rapidly growing RSVP list through our events page here.

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