Thursday, September 24, 2009

DROPOUTS COSTING CALIFORNIA $1.1 BILLION ANNUALLY IN JUVENILE CRIME COSTS: Study finds that cutting the dropout rate in half would save $550 million and prevent 30,000 juvenile crimes a year. Law enforcement urges more dropout-prevention programs.


4LAKids will post a link to the report when it becomes available.  REPORT: High School Dropouts and the Economic Losses from Juvenile Crime in California

By Seema Mehta | LA Times

September 24, 2009 -- High school dropouts, who are more likely to commit crimes than their peers with diplomas, cost the state $1.1 billion annually in law enforcement and victim costs while still minors, according to a study being released today.

The California Dropout Research Project at UC Santa Barbara found that cutting the dropout rate in half would prevent 30,000 juvenile crimes and save $550 million every year.

"This study demonstrates the immediate impact dropouts have on both public safety and the economy," said project Director Russell W. Rumberger. "If California could reduce the dropout rate, it could subsequently reduce the juvenile crime rate and its staggering impact on the state budget."

Drop-out statistics are notoriously difficult to pinpoint, but according to the state Department of Education, nearly 19% of students don't graduate from high school. In Los Angeles County, the figure is more than one in five, and at some L.A. schools, fewer than half of students graduate within four years.

The California Dropout Research Project previously studied the economic effect of not finishing high school and found that for each group of 20-year-olds who fail to complete high school (roughly 120,000 per year), the economic loss is $46.4 billion.

Lawmakers asked the group to study the immediate costs of dropping out, so they focused on juvenile crime.

Law enforcement applauded the research and urged more intervention programs to target students at risk of dropping out.

"The connection between dropping out of school and juvenile crime is very clear," said Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. "The simple fact is if kids aren't in school, they're much more likely to be on the streets causing trouble, engaging in criminal activities such as burglary, thefts, graffiti and arsons."

Dyer and others urged the governor to sign legislation, SB 651, which would require the state Department of Education to produce an annual report that accurately depicts the number of students not finishing school. The report would also identify early signs that a student might be on the path to dropping out, such as truancy. Such indicators would allow schools to target at-risk students.

"Dropout prevention is crime prevention," said Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, chairman of the board of the nonprofit Fight Crime: Invest in Kids, a bipartisan effort by law enforcement officials and crime victims. "Schools need better tools for identifying potential dropouts so they can target interventions at the kids who need them most."

Rumberger said the savings from reduced crime could be used to fund drop-out prevention efforts.

"Interventions pay for themselves," he said, noting that the state will see $2 in savings for every $1 invested.

REPORT: High School Drop Outs Robbing California Blind


Posted: Thursday, 24 September 2009 7:17AM-- A new report says high-school dropouts are costing the state over a billion dollars a year-- because they commit so many crimes. The report from UC-Santa Barbara says that if California were to cut the dropout rate in half, it would save 550-million dollars and prevent over 30,000 crimes a year.

LAUSD Superintendent Ray Cortines thinks the study may have a point, but also unfairly characterizes those who drop out because they have to get a job to help support their family.

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