Equity Symposium to Present Research
"Aggregated over all high school dropouts age 18 to 67, the annual losses in income taxes are likely over $84 billion-enough to fund No Child Left Behind and other programs of the U.S. Department of Education for a year," says the study's author, Cecilia Rouse, Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.
Titled "The Social Costs of Inadequate Education," the Symposium-to be held at Columbia University's Alfred Lerner Hall-will be the first major event conducted by The Campaign for Educational Equity, launched at TC in June with the goal of working to close the achievement gap between the nation's most advantaged and disadvantaged students. Other studies presented at the landmark two-day event will estimate what it costs society-in terms of lost productivity, lost revenue, lost tax base, increased burden on the criminal justice system, health care system and public assistance, and reduced civic engagement-when students fail to graduate from high school. Some of the presenters will also look at possible interventions that could raise the graduation rate, and provide cost-benefit analyses of implementing those interventions.
And in a closing session, Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director of the Campaign for Educational Equity, will summarize action proposals culled from the audience during special lunchtime breakout sessions, and then lead an interactive plenary discussion aimed at developing a specific agenda for follow-up action.
"We live in age when it seems that altruistic arguments aren't sufficient to persuade society to invest in educational equity," said Henry Levin, TC's William Heard Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education, who is chairing the Symposium. "Many people will only be swayed by a sound business case. We believe the research presented at our Symposium will make that case by showing Americans what all of us pay over the long-term when we fail to educate other people's children."
For example, Levin, together with a team of researchers, has evaluated interventions that would improve the rate of high school graduation for black males. He will provide estimates of the cost of implementing such interventions on a national scale and compare those costs with estimated benefits of reduced costs of health care and crime and increased income and taxes.
The other presenters are:
"To truly improve the chances of low-income children to succeed in school and thus in society, we need interventions that are much broader in scope, addressing home life, health and school quality. But to do this right, we also have to spend a lot of money, so it's important to know how much we are going to get back in terms of a healthier, more productive and more socially responsible citizenry," Muennig said.
Other speakers at the Symposium will include Laurie Tisch, Board Chair of The Campaign for Educational Equity, and TC President Arthur Levine. On Wednesday, October 26, a smaller gathering of policymakers, legislators, foundation heads, business leaders and others will review findings from the Symposium-as well as the policy recommendations presented by Rebell-and attempt to fashion a detailed action agenda based on the Symposium's major findings.
"Our goal, as with all aspects of the Campaign, is to make things happen," says Rebell. ³