How does an individual’s decision to drop out of high school affect the rest of us? And, conversely, how does a student graduating from high school benefit all of us?
Those were the questions the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) sought to answer when it began working on an economic model that would demonstrate the economic impact of a 90 percent high school graduation rate.
Individuals who drop out of high school are far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system than individuals who earn a high school diploma. But individuals are not the only ones affected when they do not graduate.
To quantify how a student’s decision to drop out affects the rest of us, and, conversely, how a student graduating from high school benefits all of us, the Alliance for Excellent Education (All4Ed) released new data demonstrating the economic impact of reaching a 90 percent high school graduation rate. The data is available for the United States as a whole, all fifty states, and roughly 140 metro areas, from Anchorage, Alaska to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and many places in-between.
During a time when future success is so closely linked to educational outcomes, one in six students do not earn their high school diploma. Individuals who drop out of high school are far more likely to spend their lives periodically unemployed, on government assistance, or cycling in and out of the prison system.
But what if the United States were able to achieve a 90 percent high school graduation rate? How would that benefit the nation?
For the Class of 2015, which had a graduation rate of 83.2 percent, a 90 percent graduation rate would have meant an additional 250,000 students would have walked across the Commencement Day stage.
These graduates would collectively have earned $3.1 billion ANNUALLY in additional income.
That additional income isn’t going under the mattress. It’s being spent in local grocery stores, restaurants, and other businesses, powering national, state, and local economies.
And these new graduates are also contributing more in the form of tax dollars—roughly $664 million collectively by the midpoint of their careers. That tax revenue will go toward public schools, roads, and a variety of other public goods.
In total, the collective spending power of these new graduates will lead to greater opportunities for the nation, including $5.7 billion in economic growth and more than 14,000 new jobs created…
“It was a great feeling watching the returns come in!” said Jonas Knotts, a high school teacher and president of the Webster County Education Association, an affiliate of the West Virginia Education Association (WVEA). “People and educators are really starting to see the power that they possess. We have a voting bloc that, if we turn out to the polls, can outvote anybody. Teachers are realizing this. It’s something that fills us with a very empowering feeling.”
Early this spring, WVEA members kicked off what NEA President Lily Eskelsen García has called an “education spring” with a statewide, nine-day strike that brought red-shirted educators from every one of the state’s 55 counties to the state Capitol.
Their massive show of solidarity, which ended with significant pay raises for all public workers, including teachers and education support professionals, and the establishment of a state task force to address public-worker health insurance, inspired educators across the nation and has been followed by statewide educator walkouts in Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky, and huge Capitol demonstrations in Colorado and North Carolina.
Now, WVEA members are modeling what happens next: They’re taking their energy and passion for public education to the ballot box. In this May’s primary races, WVEA endorsed 115 pro-public school candidates for U.S. Senate, U.S. House, and the state’s House of Delegates and Senate. Of those, 99 candidates—or nearly 90 percent—won. One state lawmaker who had called union members “free riders” was shown the door.
This is exactly what public-school educators across the nation have promised to do in the mid-term elections this November. With this latest show of union strength, WVEA members have shown how it can be done—and how good it feels.
“This election was a huge vindication for the power of the movement because, of course, the opposition was saying ‘they’re going to forget, they’re going to stay home,’” said Knotts. “But we know it’s only one victory in a long war. We have to keep up those conversations, we have to keep people engaged, we have to show them how we’re working to improve everybody’s status—from teachers to support personnel to students to communities…”
New federal data on bullying, discipline, and school safety should prompt tough questions about why certain groups of students are unfairly singled out. Could it also prevent Education Secretary Betsy DeVos from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline? Today’s Federal Flash addresses that question, highlights new people taking over top positions at the U.S. Department of Education, and covers interesting comments on education coming from top Republicans on Capitol Hill.
On Tuesday the U.S. Department of Education released the 2015-2016 Civil Right Data Collection or CRDC, a biennial snap shot of data on bullying, discipline, and school safety among other items.
The data shows that black students and students with disabilities are suspended and arrested far more often than their peers. Given the information, many are hoping this will prevent the department from rescinding Obama-era guidance on school discipline that was designed to address those problems.
The data also confirms racial disparities across students when it comes to success in science, technology, engineering and math courses. For example, 85 percent of white eighth graders who were enrolled in Algebra I passed the course, compared to only 72 percent of Latino students and 65 percent of black students. Among Native American students and students of two or more races, fewer than 50 percent passed the course.
The data also show that high schools with high percentages of black and Latino students are less likely to offer advanced math and science courses like calculus, physics, chemistry and advanced math.
In other news from the Education Department, several empty positions have been filled. On April 18, the Senate confirmed Carlos Muñiz to serve as the Education Department’s top lawyer.
In his role as General Counsel, Muñiz will be charged with tackling some of the stickiest legal issues confronting the Department including determining whether states are complying with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), deciding whether to rescind the school discipline guidance mentioned earlier, and laying out new rules for colleges handling allegations of sexual assault on campuses under Title IX.
The National School Boards Association is committed to helping ensure each and every student has, not just equal, but equitable opportunities and access to a high quality education. “Equity Matters” shines a spotlight on the importance of educational equity. “Equity Matters” was released at the National School Boards Association’s 2018 Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson visited elementary schools in Grand Blanc and Swartz Creek today in observance of National Reading Month to talk about the importance of having strong reading skills.
Johnson was a special guest for second graders at Cook Elementary School in Grand Blanc in the morning. In the afternoon, she met with second and third graders at Rankin Elementary School in Swartz Creek. She read “Little Michigan” by Denise Brennan-Nelson and played a trivia game, answered questions and took group photos with the kids.
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson plays a Michigan trivia game with students at Cook Elementary School in Grand Blanc on March 27.
During March, schools stress the importance of reading for future success in academics and in the workplace, and welcome guests to read to children
“Reading gives us a foundation for learning and success in life,” Johnson said. “It is also an activity that sparks our imagination and, as the humor columnist Dave Barry has described it, ‘a vacation for the mind.’
“I hope you’ll help celebrate National Reading Month by picking up a good book – or downloading a good e-book – and encouraging others to read as well.”
Secretary of State Ruth Johnson talks with students at Rankin Elementary School in Swartz Creek on March 27.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos made some surprising remarks to state education officials about the plans they are developing under the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). What did she say and what was the reaction from Capitol Hill?
Hundreds of students from area high schools walked out of their classrooms today and took to the streets of East Baltimore to protest gun violence.
Students from schools including Paul Laurence Dunbar High School and Baltimore Polytechnic Institute marched down Fayette St., to City Hall in the spirit of the protests that have erupted around the country in wake of the massacre of 17 students and teachers at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, Feb. 14.
“End the silence, stop gun violence,” was the theme of the protest, demanding safer schools and better gun laws to prevent violent acts.
Baltimore high school students march to City Hall protesting gun violence on March 6. (Video by Sean Yoes)