These empty desks were set up at the National Mall in June of this year to signify the 857 kids who drop out of school every hour of every school day.
With nearly 7000 students dropping out each day, a study from the Alliance for Excellent Education predicts that 12 million students will drop out in the next decade. Click through the gallery to learn more about the cause and the cost of not completing your education, and get the high school dropout facts.
The U.S. Department of Education reported in 2011 that a high school graduate could expect to make $27,380 in average annual income. A high school dropout should expect much less, averaging only $19,540 annually in income—a difference of $7,840 annually.
Photo: Michael M. Schwab/Getty Images
Going to College
While a high school dropout can only expect to earn an average of $19,540 annually, a college graduate with a bachelor’s degree can expect to earn almost $46,930, two and one half times more per year in income.
Photo: Florian/Creative Commons via Flickr
The years after the recession have hit high school dropouts significantly harder than those with higher levels of education. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, high school dropouts suffer from 14.9 percent unemployment, whereas less than 10 percent of high school graduates and 4.3 percent of college graduates are unemployed.
Having a more educated population benefits society by increasing the likelihood of attracting business investment and decreasing the amount of money that needs to be spent on social services. High school graduates are also less likely to commit crimes and rely on government support.
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How the U.S. Compares
In 1970, the United States had the highest rate of high school graduation. Today we are 21st in the world. Over the past 30 years, there has been no increase in the percentage of U.S. adults who have received a college degree (42 percent), despite every other OECD nation (with the exception of Germany) experiencing an increase.
Photo: Jon Boyes/Getty Images
Minority students suffer the most
Forty-two percent of Hispanic students and 43 percent of African American students will not graduate high school on time, according to an Alliance for Excellent Education report. These rates are roughly twice as high as Asian (17 percent) and white Americans (22 percent).
Andrew Freeman is a California native with a degree in history from UCLA. He’s covered a wide range of topics for TakePart, but is particularly interested in politics and policy. Email Andrew |@natureofdabeast | TakePart.com