WI’s graduation rate a commentary on the status of family

An opinion column in yesterday’s edition of the Wisconsin State Journal provides thought-provoking insight into the state’s high school graduation rate (currently around 90%).

According to the column…

But dropouts are underreported, and fewer than 50 percent of blacks and Latinos earn diplomas, according to a new study. More than 7,000 high school seniors fail to graduate each year, and more than 400,000 Wisconsin adults lack diplomas.

That’s bad news on a number of fronts but apparently, high school dropouts cost the state of Wisconsin (that’s you and me) $395 million a year.  Where does that cost come from?  Lower tax collections from underemployment, costly government services such as Medicaid and high incarceration rates, just to name a few.

Of course, our first question is–what’s the solution?  The root of the problem is, I believe, between the lines.  For example, social science data indicates children from divorced or non-married families have significantly higher dropout rates than children from intact, married, two-parent families.  Every year in Wisconsin, over 16,000 minor child will experience the devastating emotional, economic, academic and social consequences of divorce.  Don’t you think that might be adding to our high school dropout problem?

The real solution, then, is to strengthen the family.  And there are a number of ways the state can strengthen families from a policy standpoint.  Click here to learn more.

One of the comments on the column, from an experienced Wisconsin public school teacher, succinctly sums up the issue:

The truth is, like so many of society’s ills, the answer lies in the home.

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