Ten percent of young male high school dropouts are in prison compared to three percent of high school graduates, estimates a Northeastern University study. reported in the New York Times.
The picture is even bleaker for African-Americans, with nearly one in four young black male dropouts incarcerated or otherwise institutionalized on an average day, the study said. That compares with about one in 14 young, male, white, Asian or Hispanic dropouts.
Each high school dropout costs about $292,000, the report estimated, including “lost tax revenues, since dropouts earn less and therefore pay less in taxes than high school graduates. It also includes the costs of providing food stamps and other aid to dropouts and of incarcerating those who turn to crime.”
Supporters want more money for dropout recovery programs offering GED and job training.
Here’s the problem: Dropping out by itself doesn’t trigger unemployment or criminal behavior. It’s the result of years of failure. Most dropouts haven’t developed the work habits and behaviors required by the working world; they’ve also failed to acquire minimal reading, writing and math skills. Some grow up and wise up when they see they’re unprepared for adult life, but most need a lot more than GED and job classes.