Series Overview: The Cost Of Dropping Out

Cindy Johnston:

Of all the problems this country faces in education, one of the most complicated, heart-wrenching and urgent is the dropout crisis. Nearly 1 million teenagers stop going to school every year.
The impact of that decision is lifelong. And the statistics are stark:
The unemployment rate for people without a high school diploma is nearly twice that of the general population.
Over a lifetime, a high school dropout will earn $200,000 less than a high school graduate and almost $1 million less than a college graduate.
Dropouts are more likely to commit crimes, abuse drugs and alcohol, become teenage parents, live in poverty and commit suicide.
Dropouts cost federal and state governments hundreds of billions of dollars in lost earnings, welfare and medical costs, and billions more for dropouts who end up in prison.
NPR is looking at the dropout crisis through the stories of five people. Three dropped out of school years ago. They talk about why they left school, the forces in their lives that contributed to that decision and its impact in the years since.