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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a yearlong project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

January 9, 2014 at 4:49 PM

Question of the Week: Would you hire a high school dropout?

Illustration by Paul Tong / Op Art

Illustration by Paul Tong / Op Art

Last week’s blog post about the societal costs of high school dropouts drew a strong response from readers. According to a 2011 study from Columbia University, the average dropout imposes a lifetime cost of about $235,680 in welfare payments, food stamp, criminal justice and medical care.

With more than 30,000 teens and young adults disconnected from school and lacking diplomas in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties, the economic costs add up fast.

But the passage of ground-breaking legislation in 2010 made connecting dropouts with a diploma or other certification a renewed priority in Washington state. A popular Kent-based high school completion program called iGrad is the subject of Monday’s front-page story.

As reporter Claudia Rowe discovered, many iGrad students are bright and hard-working. Some hold down full-time jobs while they work toward their diploma. Yet, for one reason or another, none of them found success in a traditional high school setting.

Our question is related to these insights. Given the myriad of reasons some students don’t finish school — and the subsequent financial costs — would you hire a high school dropout?

0 Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: dropouts, igrad, question of the week

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