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A report (pdf)  from the Alliance for Excellent Education puts some numbers on the cost of kids dropping out of high school and there were more than 46,000 of them in North Carolina last year.

The lost lifetime earnings for those students comes to $12 billion. The state would save almost $500 million in health care costs over the students’ lifetime if they would have graduated.

If the male graduation rate increased by just five percent per year,  it would mean a total of $233 million to the state economy in higher earnings and less spending on the criminal justice system.

Most importantly, think about what it would mean for the lives of the kids who left high school with a diploma instead of heading to the streets at 16 without one.

6 Comments


  1. JoeCiulla

    December 15, 2009 at 9:28 am

    These are all great points, yet you doggedly support a WCPSS policy which has caused he dropout rate to increase for ten straight years, and which now gives a black male less than a 50/50 chance of earning a diploma.

  2. Chris Fitzsimon

    December 15, 2009 at 9:40 am

    Why then are Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools graduation rates lower overall than Wake’s, lower for African-American students, and lower for kids on free and reduced lunch—when Charlotte spend more than Wake County to educate fewer students?

  3. JoeCiulla

    December 15, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Uh, check again and look at this year’s data.

  4. Something Clever

    December 15, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Chris,
    Why do you continue to bring up CMS spending more like it is a bad thing? A school district that has relationship with the community that makes it willing to spend on education is a positive, IMO.

    Not to discount the importance of graduation rates, but it is one of the very last things to reflect a policy change. If you want to see what has happened over the last five years, compare results for elementary school kids now versus five years ago.

  5. Chris Fitzsimon

    December 15, 2009 at 9:52 am

    uh, the data I just referenced comes from the four-year cohort graduation rate for the 2008-2009 school year as reported by the Department of Public Instruction, which is as far as I know are the latest numbers available, unless you can predict the future and tell us what will happen in May.

    Here is a link to one Wake County school’s graduation numbers.

    http://www.ncreportcards.org/src/schDetails.jsp?Page=16&pSchCode=318&pLEACode=920&pYear=2008-2009

    The breakdown of the Wake district numbers are at the bottom.

    Overall graduation rate 78.4
    African-Americans 63.4
    Free and reduced lunch 54.2

    Here is the link to one Charlotte high school with the district breakdown at the bottom,

    http://www.ncreportcards.org/src/schDetails.jsp?Page=16&pSchCode=302&pLEACode=600&pYear=2008-2009

    Overall graduation rate 66.1
    African-Americans 55.5
    Free and reduced lunch 52

  6. Chris Fitzsimon

    December 15, 2009 at 9:54 am

    I am not bringing it up as a bad thing. I am bringing it up because Mr. Ciulla turned a post about keeping kids in school into a discussion of Wake County Schools. It seems the Charlotte scores are relevant, since that is the system that Wake would most resemble if the new board has its way.

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