Saturday, September 02, 2006

Examining the incentives for and against reducing high school dropout rates

The Brownsville herald does a good job examing the incentives confronting teachers and schools around dropouts. Districts want dropout rates to decline to avoid systemic sanctions aimed at districts for high ratios. Individual teachers, on the other hand, may actually have incentives to counsel students out of attending, since the pressure on teachers is to get classroom, grade level, and school scores on state tests to increase. Students who are very far behind would require much more help than students who are near proficiency. The incentive is to neglect the students at the lowest levels.

The article goes on to study the economic impact of dropouts on the economy of the region. The fact that dropouts earn far less than do graduates means that they pay less in payroll taxes, are likely to consume lots of social and/or welfare services, and increase the likelihood that the individual will engage in criminal activity.


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