Tag Archives: high school diploma

The Effect Dropouts Have On the Cleveland Economy

Last week, I read an interesting report released by the Alliance for Excellent Education (The Alliance) that showed the Cleveland economy would grow significantly if the number of high school dropouts was cut in half. More than 8,000 students dropped out of the high school class of 2008 in Cleveland and the surrounding areas, according to the report.

The Alliance’s research shows that if just half of those students had graduated, on average, they would earn more than $52 million in additional income every year of their lives. In addition, in these areas, state and local tax revenues in an average year would jump by more than $8 million, according to the report. While Cleveland was the only city in Ohio the report included, it shows clearly the importance of graduating from high school or obtaining a GED.

The Alliance’s study also found that 61 percent of the additional high school graduates would continue their education with many earning a Ph.D. or other professional degree. From a national perspective, almost 600,000 students dropped out of the high school class of 2008 in the nation’s 50 largest cities and the surrounding areas. The Alliance’s research shows that if just half of those students had graduated, on average, they would have earned more than $4.1 billion in additional income every year. In addition, state and local tax revenues in an average year would jump by nearly $536 million.

I wonder how much impact a lower dropout rate in Summit County would affect the local economy? The 4,900 high schools located within the 50 cities that were included in the report have an average graduation rate of 69.8 percent, according to the report. Over 900 of these are considered “dropout factories,” that is, schools where fewer than 60 percent of freshman progress to their senior year on time.

For more information and specific numbers for each of the cities listed in the report, click here. In January, the Alliance will release additional economic and financial benefits of reducing dropout rates in these 50 cities, including additional spending and investment, job and economic growth, and home and auto sales.

The Alliance for Excellent Education is a Washington, D.C.-based policy, research and advocacy organization that works to make every child a high school graduate who is prepared for postsecondary education and success in life, according to the Alliance.

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Time to Break Cycle of No Skills, No Jobs

The Detroit Free Press reported that low level of literacy adds fuel to employment crisis. Very true.

In Summit County, Ohio, there are 45,000 adults who don’t read well enough to earn a living wage. There is also 52,000 adults over the age of 25 who lack a high school diploma. This is a problem for people who need to be able to read and possess a high school diploma to work a job that pays well enough to support their families.

Although Project Learn serves adults in Summit and Portage county who are in need of literacy skills, we recognize that low literacy is a national problem. 

Detroit (Michigan) has about 365,000 residents age 16 and older who read below sixth-grade level. That’s more than a third of a city that is losing residents every year.

Read more about Detroit’s problem here.

Student Spotlight: Maurice Thomas

Maurice Thomas, 2006 GED graduateLast week Maurice Thomas, a 2006 GED graduate, stopped by to share his educational accomplishments.

He received his associate’s degree in fire protection last year and will be graduating from the University of Akron in December with a bachelor’s degree in emergency management.

Maurice, who currently works as a freelance videographer, plans on using his talent to help improve emergency management systems. He hopes to work for FEMA and help the organization become “more proactive, not reactive.”

“The 9/11 attacks and Hurricane Katrina opened my eyes to a lot of things that were going on,” he explained. “I want to be able to help people get through to unexpected hard times.”

Maurice dropped out of high school when he was in the 10th grade so that he could take care of his daughter.

“It was hard because I was a father before I was a man,” he said. “But that’s the only reason why I stopped going to school. I had to provide for my family.”

After seeing where the economy was headed, he decided it was time to finish his education.

“Some people decide to further their education for their children, but I did it for myself,” he said. “This allowed me to better provide for my children and become a better role model.”

Maurice said he wants African-American males to use him as an example.

“If you want something, you have to work for it,” he said. “And that’s what I did.”

To read more student success stories, click here.

Meet the Board

Project Learn has decided to add a new feature to this blog.  “Meet the Board” will be a weekly post that will feature a new Project Learn board member who will share why they decided to get involved with Project Learn and their thoughts on literacy and personal experiences with education.

1. What is your name, title and employer?
Denise Stuart, associate professor at the University of AkronCollege of Education

2. Do you hold a specific seat on the Board?
I serve as chair of the program committee. This allows me stay in touch with the many programs Project Learn offers and to involve students from the University of Akron with program activities.

3. Why did you choose to become involved with Project Learn?
I have been involved with adult literacy for many years, as a volunteer initially, then as a family literacy coordinator in another county, as a member of a reading group for adult readers and now with Project Learn. I was aware of the good work Project Learn was doing in the Akron/Summit County community and so when I began to teach at the University of Akron I wanted to get involved locally. I’m glad I did.

4. In your opinion, what is the value of education?
Education creates opportunity and can open doors to options. Options are part of freedom in life. South African leader Nelson Mandela once said: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” It can change the world of the individual and of the community. A woman who works for children’s rights, Marion Wright Edelman says that “Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.” It is all about hope and possibility.

5. In Summit County, more than 62,000 people over the age of 18 lack a high school diploma. How do you interpret this?
This reflects the trend nationally and continues to need attention. The kinds of jobs available has changed as plants and factories have closed or downsized. Additional skills and abilities are now needed. Our schools are working through reform efforts that make learning more meaningful and relevant, that consider new structures for high school, and ways we can assess learning beyond one test. A program with The University of Akron, Early College High School, is one new approach to high school that helps prepare students for careers as well as college.

6. What is your favorite book? Why?
This is such a hard question… There are some I keep coming back to and read again and again like One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a delightful and magical story of generations of a family in a village over 100 years and all that can happen in life. I enjoy escaping in mysteries like Walter Moseley’s series of Easy Rawlins crime and PI adventures set in L.A. over the decades. I like to get to know characters in a story. As a child I enjoyed Pippi Longstocking’s zany adventures and Nancy Drew’s clever solving of mysteries. I teach children’s literature so I very much enjoy exploring books I can recommend to teachers and children, readers of all ages. And lately I’ve been thinking about my grandmother who grew up in Finland. I never heard her story about those times. So I have been reading information about what Finland is like, imagining her life. I hope someday I will travel there to learn more.

7. Finish this sentence: Reading allows me ….
to enjoy who we are and can be, to go to new places, to learn new things and new words. Mary McLeod Bethune said that “The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” I agree.

8. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I feel fortunate to be part of Project Learn and so appreciate the tremendous work of the teachers, staff and students. Every time I go to a Project Learn graduation I am moved by the stories of students and so proud of the work they have done. B.B. King, the blues guitarist, reminds us that “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” They will have that degree and the experience of learning forever.

If You Don’t Have a GED…

 

 

Well, I can’t say what it’s like for other people who don’t have a GED or diploma, but from my own personal view and experiences, it’s very difficult to go through life without one or the other.  Nowadays, it’s very hard to even get a job that doesn’t require you to have a GED.

So, that’s one of the reasons I decided to attend “Project Learn” to get my GED.  The other reason is because I want the significance of being able to achieve one of my short term goals in life.  Also, being a mother of “3”, I want to show them how much potential I really have in life.

Tasha

 

Tasha is a current Project Learn student in our GEN Y Pre-GED class.  She has advanced one grade level in both reading and math and will advance to our GED class this summer.

 

FYI:  Tasha and I worked together to make a few corrections to her essay.