There is a widening gap in America between millions of youth who graduate from
high school and their peers who don’t. Nationally, 1.3 million students in the class of 2010 failed to graduate with a high school diploma1. The implications of this staggering statistic are dire for youth, communities and the nation.
It goes without saying that schools are a critical part of the “education equation.” Parents and family members are also integral to children’s success. There is, however, a third, and often overlooked, crucial piece of the education equation: community-based organizations that can serve as partners in providing access to the programs and resources that both youth and families need to succeed. Now more than ever, community partners play a critical role in shaping the lives of America’s young people. This is where Boys & Girls Clubs are uniquely positioned to make a significant difference. Given our history, our proven successes, our nationwide network and the fact that the youth we serve are among those most at risk of dropping out, Boys & Girls Clubs stand ready to play an active leadership role in helping to reverse this disturbing, unacceptable situation.
The dropout crisis is not just a school, youth or parent issue – it’s a community and societal issue. A crisis of this magnitude involves ALL of us.
By the Numbers
It is manifestly clear that our nation is facing a dropout crisis. The national graduation rate currently stands at a dismal 69 percent. Every school day, 7,200 young people give up on school; nearly half of African-American, Hispanic/Latino and Native American students fail to graduate on time with their class. If these students had graduated, our nation’s economy would have benefitted from more than $335 billion in income over their lifetimes. Merely cutting the dropout rate in half would yield $45 billion annually in extra tax revenues and cost savings.
The graduation rate is not only an educational crisis; it is a financial one that impacts our nation’s economy. Statistics show that over the course of their lifetime, a high school dropout will earn approximately $260,000 less than a high school graduate, and will contribute about $60,000 less in taxes. If the male graduation rate were improved by only five percentage points, our nation would save $4.9 billion in crime-related costs annually. Moreover, if all high school students graduated, the U.S. would save more than $17 billion in healthcare for the uninsured and in Medicaid costs.