More than 18,000 Arizona students who dropped out of high school this year will cost the state $7.6 billion over their lifetime. Cutting the student dropout rate in half would generate $3.8 billion more in economic benefits to the state of Arizona for each graduating class.
These key findings are detailed in a new report examining the economic impact of high school dropouts in Arizona. The report, commissioned by the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, shows that Arizona youths who drop out of high school are less likely to find a job or earn a living wage and more likely to have poor health, engage in criminal behavior, and require public assistance than those who finish high school.
Arizona loses $294 million over the lifetimes of high-school dropouts in the productivity declines of a less-educated workforce and $145 million in taxes collected to pay for government expenses over their lifetimes, according to the report and this article. High-school dropouts who end up going to college later save Arizona $398 million.
“The next phase for us to is to work together and ask what can we do in our ten cities that create models of success in our state,” says Paul Koehler, Director of the Policy Center at WestEd, and coordinator of the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable. Koehler, along with several Arizona city mayors, presented the report’s findings at a news conference in Phoenix.
The Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable is a partnership of WestEd and the Helios Foundation designed to increase city government’s role in helping youth prepare for college and careers. Ten mayors from across the state formed the Roundtable, including Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Tempe, Gilbert, Goodyear, and Avondale, and the rural areas of Miami, Oro Valley, and Sahuarita. The Roundtable provides a forum to discuss education initiatives and develop common, cohesive strategies for addressing local problems.