WASHINGTON, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Americans have made it clear that they have major concerns going into November's elections. They are worried about the economy, crime, health care, energy costs, the housing crisis, and the war in Iraq. Just as people can be tracked by six degrees of separation, so can many of the top issues for voters. Their common bond is education. As you look for sources and statistics for your stories, consider the following points. The National Education Association has numerous experts who can provide context, data sources and additional information. NEA President Reg Weaver and President-elect Dennis Van Roekel will be in Denver for the Democratic National Convention. They can speak to reporters on-site or before the convention commences. Dropouts drain the U.S. economy. -- A high school dropout earns about $260,000 less over his or her lifetime than a high school graduate and pays about $60,000 less in taxes. -- Annual losses exceed $50 billion in federal and state income taxes for all 23 million of the nation's high school dropouts ages 18 to 67. -- The United States loses $192 billion - 1.6 percent of its current gross domestic product in combined income and tax-revenue losses with each group of 18-year-olds who never complete high school. Increasing the educational attainment of that cohort by one year would recoup nearly half those losses. -- NEA recently released a 12-point dropout prevention plan that provides a multi-tiered strategy to address the dropout crisis. Education is tied to health care. -- High school dropouts are 72 percent more likely to be unemployed compared to high school graduates. Unemployment often equals uninsured, creating a reliance on social programs. -- Health care can affect student achievement. An estimated 47 million Americans are without health insurance. Uninsured children have unnecessary illnesses and higher rates of absenteeism. They may struggle in school because they have difficulty concentrating because of illness. -- Studies continue to show that children learn far more and perform far better in school when they are healthy and receive medical care. There is a critical connection between children's health and their ability to learn. Education - or the lack thereof - affects the crime rate. -- Nearly 80 percent of individuals in prison do not have a high school diploma. -- Seventy-five percent (75%) of America's state prison inmates are high school dropouts. -- Fifty-nine percent (59%) of America's federal prison inmates did not complete high school. -- High school dropouts are more than three times more likely than high school graduates to be arrested in their lifetime. The National Education Association is the nation's largest professional employee organization, representing 3.2 million elementary and secondary teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals, school administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become teachers.
SOURCE National Education Association