ViewPoint: Our kids need to graduate

September 14, 2007

Georgia's high school graduation rate is dismal and costly.  A new report from the Alliance for Excellent Education estimates dropouts from the class of 2006 cost the state $14.2-billion in lost wages and taxes. 

If those students had graduated, Georgia would save $746 million in Medicaid and expenditures for uninsured care over their lifetimes.  The bottom line is when young people don't graduate, we all pay.  But there is reason for hope.

Every public high school in Georgia now has a graduation coach to help students make it through school.  That program has shown great promise.  This year, middle schools got graduation coaches to reach at-risk students even earlier. 

Dougherty County school leaders are pushing to get every student a Georgia Test ID Number.  That will help keep track of students who move out of the county and result in more accurate gradution rates.

All those are positive steps we support.  And we encourage the state and local school systems to continue to look for innovative ways to identify potential dropouts and help them stay in school. 

It's the right thing to do for the kids, and it's the right thing for the taxpayers of Georgia.