What would happen if we reduced dropouts in America’s 50 largest cities?

In a report issued by the Alliance for Excellent Education, which calculates what the dropout problem costs the country and each of the 50 largest metropolitan areas.  Check their website to see your city’s statistic.

If half the students who dropped out of the class of 2008 had graduated, they would have generated $4.1 billion more in wages and $536 million in state and local taxes nationally in one average year of their working lives, according to the new analysis.

The numbers vary depending on each region’s peculiarities.  Bob Wise, the president of the alliance, noted that 84 percent of high school graduates in Honolulu go on to some kind of postsecondary education, compared with 47 percent in Memphis. For the area that includes Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., for instance, the study finds that if half of the 70,929 students who dropped out of the class of 2008 had earned diplomas, they would have contributed $575 million more in wages and $79 million in property, sales, and income taxes during an average year, which the alliance defines as when a graduate is about 39 years old.

“Nearly 600,000 students dropped out of the class of 2008, at a great cost to themselves,” he said, “but as this study demonstrates, also to their communities.”

In a time when the nation is straining to pay for two wars, the health care crisis, a recession, one would think that the business community as well as the politicians would see that increasing our nation’s graduation rate would have a dramatic effect on our nation and our economy.