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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Life Issues > Education > New report on high school dropouts serves as wake-up call to the true costs to local communities

New report on high school dropouts serves as wake-up call to the true costs to local communities

LatinaLista — A new report by the Alliance for Excellent Education shows that nearly 600,000 students living in the country’s 50 largest cities never walked across the stage in 2008 to receive a high school diploma because they dropped out of school.

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While we are used to hearing about how dropping out of school comes at a high cost for the individual and the nation — reduced job opportunities, low-wage jobs, less taxes paid to the government, etc. — no one has ever looked at the individual cities to discover just how dropping out of school impacts the local economy.

The Alliance’s research shows that, if just half of those students had graduated, on average, they would have earned more than $4.1 billion in additional income every year. In addition, in these areas, state and local tax revenues in an average year would jump by a total of nearly $536 million.

For example, if the 2008 dropout rate was reduced just by 50% in the following cities, there would be an added windfall to the local economy:

In the New York City metropolitan area, if 33,452 of the total of 66,904 2008 dropouts stayed in school, annual state and local property, income, and sales tax revenue would grow by nearly $92 million during the average year as the result of increased spending and higher salaries.

In Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, if 14,525 of the total of 29,049 dropouts stayed in school, annual state and local property, income, and sales tax revenue would grow by nearly $19 million during the average year as the result of increased spending and higher salaries.

In Los Angeles-Long Beach, if 35,465 of the total of 70,929 dropouts stayed in school, annual state and local property, income, and sales tax revenue would grow by nearly $79 million during the average year as the result of increased spending and higher salaries.

In these times when cities are cutting needed services to their residents, this lost income illustrates how imperative it is for the dropout problem to be approached in new and innovative ways.

What this report further exemplifies is that the school drop-out program is a community-wide problem that warrants all members of the community — business, educators, politicians — to be involved in countering this educational crisis.

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