WASHINGTON—The Campaign for High School Equity (CHSE) joined one of its partners, the Alliance for Excellent Education, in forecasting the economic impact of halving the high school dropout rate for students of color and Native students in the nation’s 45 largest metropolitan areas.
According to the Alliance, if just half of the estimated 600,000 students who dropped out of high schools in these metropolitan areas in 2008 had graduated, this single class of new graduates would likely earn as much as $4.1 billion in additional income and spend an additional $2.8 billion, much of it in their hometowns.
“Increasing graduation rates among students of color would not only enhance students’ opportunities to succeed in the future, but could be the key to reversing the negative economic trends our country is facing,” said Michael Wotorson, executive director of CHSE. “Increasing the annual earning, investing, and purchasing power of these potential graduates would dramatically improve the economy at every level. These metro areas cannot recover and sustain economic health without getting every high school student, regardless of zip code or race, across the finish line.”
CHSE asserts that the Common Core State Standards Initiative, a state-led voluntary effort to establish a set of clear, high academic standards for all schools is one avenue to improve educational outcomes, but to be effective it must place the concerns of students of color and Native students at the forefront as standards are adopted and implemented. The benefits of these standards must be connected to efforts to bring an effective teacher to every classroom and to use accurate data to identify and address challenges.
CHSE is a coalition of leading civil rights organizations representing communities of color that is focused on high school education reform. Members include the National Urban League, National Council of La Raza, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, The Leadership Conference Education Fund, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, LULAC, National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, Alliance for Excellent Education, National Indian Education Association, and Southeast Asia Resource Action Center. CHSE is a special project of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors