Why is this important?
High school graduates have higher lifetime earning capabilities than their less-educated peers. Studies suggest that each additional year completed in high school is correlated with 10–14 percent higher lifetime earnings.[i] In addition to lost earnings, high dropout rates represent societal costs, including billions of dollars in lost revenues, welfare programs, unemployment programs, and crime prevention and prosecution.[ii] High school completion is also strongly correlated with civic participation later in life, especially voting.[iii] The Oregon Department of Education has set a target of reaching 100 percent high school graduation by 2024–2025. To meet this goal, the department establishes graduation targets each year, based on graduation rates in previous years, and these targets vary across population groups.[iv]
[i] P. Oreopoulos, "Do dropouts drop out too soon? Wealth, health, and happiness from compulsory schooling," Journal of Public Economics 91, no. 11 (2007): 2213-2229.
[ii] S. Christenson and M. Thurlow, "School dropouts: Prevention considerations, interventions, and challenges," Current Directions in Psychological Science 13, no. 1 (2004): 36-39.
[iii] K. Milligan, E. Moretti, and P. Oreopoulos, "Does education improve citizenship? Evidence from the United States and the United Kingdom," Journal of Public Economics 88, no. 9 (2004): 1667-1695.
[iv] Oregon Department of Education. Statewide Report Card: An Annual Report to the Legislature on Oregon Public Schools (2013).