The United States now ranks near the bottom of the list of advanced economies for its high school dropout rate — 23.3 percent of American students do not receive a high school diploma.
Of the roughly 4 million students who enter high school each year, about 1 million will drop out before graduation. That’s 7,000 every school day.
The problem is even greater in large cities. Nearly half of all students in the nation’s 50 largest school districts drop out before graduation, CBS News reported.
In fact, just 25 of America’s 11,000 school districts with high schools accounted for one out of every five dropouts in one recent year, according to the Washington Post.
The U.S. rate compares poorly to the dropout rate in most of the countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the group of 34 advanced nations with economies most comparable to the U.S.
For example, in the U.K. the rate is 8.9 percent; in South Korea, 7 percent; in Japan, 5.3 percent; Ireland, 4 percent; Germany, 2.8 percent, according to OECD figures reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Among the countries with a higher rate than the United States, Canada has a rate of 23.7; Portugal, 37.1 percent; Mexico, 56 percent; and Turkey, 73.8 percent.
The OECD average is 20 percent.
Dropouts cost American taxpayers more than $8 billion a year in public assistance programs such as food stamps. They earn about $10,000 a year less than workers with high school diplomas, CBS reported.
They are also more likely to be unemployed. And nearly 60 percent of federal prison inmates are high school dropouts.
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