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Campaign for Educational Equity

HENRY LEVIN: If we were to increase the high school completion rate by just 1 percent for all men 20 to 60, it could save the US up to 1.4 billion a year and reduce costs from crime alone. And that's just a 1 percent improvement.

BETH FERTIG (NPR member station WNYC): The lack of a high school diploma hurts not just individuals ... but is costing the nation billions of dollars a year. New research out today says the costs of inequality in education are staggering. NPR's Steve
Drummond reports from New York.

STEVE DRUMMOND (NPR news): No question, it would cost a lot to lower the high school dropout rate. But studies presented today at Columbia Universty conclude that NOT fixing the problem is costing much much more. How much? Here's one example: A high school dropout earns over the course of a lifetime roughly 260 thousand dollars less than someone with a diploma. And pays about 60 thousand less in taxes. Overall, dropouts cost the nation about 50 billion dollars every year in lost revenues. There are many other costs as well ... food stamps, housing, and welfare-- dropouts are more likely to rely on these programs.

As for solutions -- one big answer, the researchers say, is better preschool  -- making sure that children are prepared at the start of their educational careers.

This excerpt aired on NPR radio programs All Things Considered and Morning Edition on October 26th, 2005.

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