The Economic Cost of Education Failure

School Choice Opportunity If you don’t have a child in a failing school, you may think that SB 1 and the education reforms it contains are of no benefit to you. Think again. The Alliance for Excellent Education has compiled some startling facts on the cost of education failures in Pennsylvania.

  • High school drop-outs hurt our economy. More than 34,300 students from Pennsylvania’s “class of 2010” did not graduate high school. The lost lifetime earnings for that class alone totals over $8.9 billion. If the high school dropouts who currently head households had earned their diplomas, the state’s economy would have benefited from an additional $2.9 billion in wealth accumulated by families.
  • High school drop-outs are more likely to be on Medicaid and other welfare programs. Pennsylvania could save an estimated  $505 million in health care costs over the lifetimes of each class of dropouts, had they earned their diplomas.
  • Colleges are paying for the remediation of high school graduates. If Pennsylvania’s high schools graduated all of their students ready for college, the state could save as much as $125 million a year in college remediation costs.
  • High school drop-outs are more likely to go to prison. Pennsylvania’s economy could see a combination of crime-related savings and additional savings of about $288 million each year if the male high school graduation rate increased by just 5 percent.

When our education system fails, it’s not just the kids who suffer: Taxpayers pay more for the cost of that failure.