Dropouts Lose; So Does Society

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 19, 2009 | Go to article overview

Dropouts Lose; So Does Society


Byline: Deborah Simmons, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

It will happen today, tomorrow and the next day. In fact, a new study commissioned by a coalition of U.S. organizations says that on any given day, nearly one in 10 young male dropouts is in jail or juvenile detention, compared with one in 35 young male high school graduates. Another given: Male dropouts were 47 times more likely to be incarcerated than their peers of a similar age who had graduated from a four-year college, the report says.

The study, Consequences of Dropping Out of High School: Joblessness and Jailing for High School Dropouts and the High Cost for Taxpayers, paints a portrait of the employment, earnings, incarceration and parenting experiences of dropouts ages 16 to 24 and their better-educated peers. The study was conducted by researchers at Northeastern University and used census and other government data.

We're trying to show what it means to be a dropout in the 21st-century United States, said Andrew Sum, director of Northeastern's Center for Labor Market Studies. It's one of the country's costliest problems. The unemployment, the incarceration rates - its scary.

A coalition of civil rights and education groups commissioned the study as part of a push for new educational opportunities for the nation's 6.2 million high school dropouts.

The dropout rate is driving the nation's increasing prison population, and it's a drag on America's economic competitiveness, said National Urban League President Marc H. …

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