Education A State Capitals Roundup

Group Links Graduation Rates, States’ Economic Vitality

By Robert C. Johnston — May 03, 2005 1 min read

A Washington-based education research and advocacy group is urging states to craft policies that raise high school graduation rates as a way to increase workers’ earnings and improve state economies.

An analysis by the Alliance for Excellent Education that was published in its April 11 newsletter Straight A’s found that some states could see earnings by residents increase by $100 million or more if they could cut in half the percentage of students who do not finish high school.

For example, assuming a 67 percent graduation rate for California’s class of 1998 and a high school graduate’s $7,200 in added annual earnings over a dropout’s, the analysis says that California would see a total of $556 million more in annual worker earnings than if only half those students earned a diploma.

“There is an important connection between a state’s economic vitality and a state’s high school graduation rate,” said Bob Wise, the group’s president and a former Democratic governor of West Virginia. A state-by-state analysis is available at