Every year, approximately 1.3 million students drop out of high school — 7,000 students a day. On average, only 72 percent of America’s children graduate. Less than 60 percent of Latino, African American and Native Americans earn a high school diploma. For minority males, the number has been consistently near or below the 50 percent mark.
The economic impact of children dropping out of high school amounts to a third of a trillion dollars over their lifetimes in lost wages, productivity and taxes. The median earnings for individuals who do not complete high school are $12,000 a year. Those who receive a high school diploma receive, on average, an additional $10,000 a year. According to children who have left school and those at risk, dropping out establishes almost an insurmountable obstacle course for life, depriving a person of both opportunity and hope.
This is an American tragedy. But it is a tragedy we can correct.