Friday, September 25, 2009

The Cost of High School Dropouts

As an educator all my life, this article caught my interest.

"Dropouts Cost Oklahoma $3.8 Billion In Additional Income.

The Ada (OK) Evening News (9/24) reported, "If the students who dropped out of Oklahoma's Class of 2009 had graduated, the state's economy would have benefited from more than $3.8 billion in additional income over the course of their lifetimes, according to a new issue brief from the Alliance for Excellent Education." The economic losses are due in part to lower earning power, and also to the more limited job prospects that accompany a lack of diploma. The brief also argues that "everyone benefits from increased high school graduation rates," not only because of higher earning potential, but also because graduates "live longer, are less likely to be teen parents, and are less likely to commit crimes, rely on government health care, or use other public services such as food stamps or housing assistance. At the same time, the nation benefits from their increased purchasing power, collects higher tax receipts, and sees higher levels of worker productivity."

This is just one example in one state of the value of getting your education.

We all know good people who dropped out of school for various reasons and made a productive impact on our society.

I think of three men immediately. Bob Evans, Dave Thomas and Ralph Stolle. Since I knew and met all three men, I learned they were way ahead of their time and didn't fit in our traditional educational system.

Bob figured out how to use sausage to make him famous, Dave made Wendy's square burgers famous and Ralph invented the pop top for cans.

I know that is still possible today for our youth to accomplish similar or better feats but it looks to me like the odds are really stacked against you without proper education.

I found an Ohio State Buckeye cap at the Iowa 80 truckstop that really fits my head and I really like to wear it. Of course people like to comment on it. When they do, I tell them that the education I got there really helped me in life.

As an educator and parent, one of the most difficult jobs I ever encountered was how do you help a young person find their possibilites and become successful?

That is a job that will never end and always will keep teachers and parents employed.

Ed Winkle


  1. I think you posted a link on NAT to an article about a home robbery where the homeowner shot a 17 year-old and a 22 year-old.
    Did you look at the comments following the story?
    There is a peasant mindset in the country where people are proud to be idiots!
    There was a link to the facebook profile of the 17 year-old. Total morons and proud of it!

  2. I know. It's kind of scary but we just keep turning our heads.

    Somedays I feel like we are all peasants, others I don't.


  3. So here's the question Ed: is it possible to be a Bob Evans/Dave Thomas today? With the stigmatization of any of us with less than a full Bachelor's, would society today respond as willingly to a "celebrity CEO" or entrepreneur without his sheepskin? Dave & Bob are prime examples of those who dropped out and made it, and there are some of us who've made it in the business world without the college degree our culture says is necessary to get ahead, but I think if you don't get the HS Diploma, it's much more unlikely that you'd "make it" today in the same way those unqualified success stories made it fifty years ago...

    Love to hear your thoughts...

  4. Sure is, Andy. Number one is we all learn a different way and the traditional way may not be best for all.

    The problem I see is getting the knowledge you need in this techno world.

    Poor grammer and mispelled words make it hard to communicate and respect one another in this techno world.

    The word mispelled is often mispelled.

    Once I know that limitation from someone I trust the person doing it but it is so much easier to just go go on to the next person.

    Once people have your respect it doesn't matter how you speak or write to some degree.

    We have even learned to not trust people who speak or write beyond their knowledge.

    Trust is foremost and I really trusted Bob and Dave and Ralph because they were smart and they could help me.

    Does this make any sense to you?

    It is difficult to put into words...