Arizona dropouts equal $7.6B loss of economic activity

According to a new report by the Arizona Mayors Education Roundtable, the more than 18,000 Arizona students who dropped out of high school this year will produce $7.6 billion less economic activity over their lifetimes than if those same students had graduated.

The report finds that cutting the dropout rate in half would generate $3.8 billion more in economic benefits to the state for each graduating class.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton and several Valley mayors released the research report on Wednesday.

They are using the results to promote “reforms” such Common Core, which has virtually nothing to do with the reason kids drop out of Arizona schools. Paul J. Luna, president and CEO of Helios Education Foundation said, “Having the Mayors hold these statewide discussions will help enable our communities to identify and respond to the contributing factors and set goals that will re-engage students and put them back on the path toward college and career readiness.”

school-dropoutsFindings include:

◾Each Arizona high school dropout results in a $421,280 loss in economic activity over his or her lifetime. This figure includes lost earnings, increased health care and crime-related costs, lost economic productivity and lost tax revenue.

◾In the City of Phoenix, the number is higher: each dropout results in a $463,500 economic loss – creating a $1.42 billion economic loss per graduating class.

◾In Arizona, each dropout will earn $271,040 less over the course of their lifetime than counterparts who graduate. Dropouts face higher risks of unemployment and economic insecurity.
◾Each dropout will cost taxpayers an additional $98,520 more in crime-related expenses over the course of their lifetime.

◾Of the $7.6 billion in Arizona economic loss, $1.5 billion represents lost revenue and increased expenses for state and local governments.

◾In 2012, Arizona’s disconnected youth population – that is, young people who are neither in school nor working – was 183,200, or 22 percent of population aged 16 to 24. This disconnected population results in an aggregate economic loss of more than $127 billion.

“Beyond the profound consequences to individuals and their families, we are now able to quantify the impact of school dropouts on Arizona’s economy,” said Paul H. Koehler, director of WestEd’s Policy Center and coordinator of the Mayors Roundtable. “This report should serve as a clarion call to action for state educators, policy makers, and all Arizonans.” WestEd is part of the educational industrialized complex and offers educators, “consulting & technical assistance, evaluation, policy analysis, professional development, and research,” according to their website.

Russell W. Rumberger, a professor of education at the University of California, Santa Barbara and director of the California Dropout Research Project served as lead author of the report. Data was compiled from the Arizona Department of Education, U.S. Census American Community Survey and the 2014 study, “The Economic Losses from High School Dropouts and Disconnected Youth: Evidence from Across Arizona,” written by Clive R. Belfield, a professor at Queens College, City University of New York. Belfield also authored The Price We Pay: The Cost to the Nation of Inadequate Education (edited, with Henry Levin), Brookings Institution Press, Washington, DC (2007).


  1. What economic activity? Last time I checked Obama was still President…there is no economic activity.

  2. Richard has it exactly right. Its not about the student and never has been at TUSD. Its been about race and how to screw the taxpayer out of millions of dollars to throw away on worthless programs and products and pay exorbitant salaries to administrators. Please realize that if TUSD can enroll less than half of the 470 dropout kids that they will contact, they will collect a cool 1.3 million from the state with no guarantee that they will stick around again. Can you imagine a student that quit in the 7th grade and has been out of school for two years and is then mainstreamed back into the student population. He/she will be at least two years older than their other class mates and I can’t imagine the trouble that will bring, but what the hell, TUSD has different discipline standards for different races anyway. Or how about sending the 400+ ILLEGALS to TUSD and the district will make a cool 2.6 million on them. Its always about the money for the Grijalva’s and their ilk, not the students. Just look at Sunnyside. It was all about Manny and his obscene salary and his three board votes and not the good of the district. Yea, I would expect nothing less from TUSD, the black hole that I pay my tax money too and damn, they want more. Can hardly live in this area anymore because of the taxes. Sure can’t get to work because of the roads. What a third world area and the worse is yet to come.

  3. Interesting…. most every other study similar to this also has a break down of results by race and ethnicity. I wonder why this one didn’t.

    Keep kids in school that don’t want to be there just wastes resources that should be applied to the students that want to be there and are profiting from the opportunity. The kids that don’t want to be there slow classes down and cause disciplinary problems that adversely impact those students that want to learn.

    Again, we cater to the losers at the expense of the strivers.

    • That’s the way it is with almost anything. The upright and low-abiding among us always pay for the criminal element and those who think the rules don’t apply to them. That’s why we have the gun control fanatics, because the perverted who exist along with us can’t control themselves. That’s why you can’t even get a can of spray paint without finding someone with a key, because some little worthless punk would rather deface property than go to school and try to improve. We are always paying for the losers and miscreants while they roll along as happy as clams.

  4. I have noted in my recent communication with our Mayor & Council the only reason they are now interested in Public Education is? Yes you got it money $$$.

    The only time they respond is if it means a lost oppurtunity for them elected officials to misspend our money.

    The hope of every loving parent is that our kids will have more success than we did.

    Elected public servants have lost sight of why they were voted in public office. Serve our community and our biggest asset is our children.

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