Economy, Crime, Healthcare: All Linked to Education

Voters' top election concerns have education tie that is ignored by pundits

Aug 26, 2008, 01:00 ET from National Education Association

    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
     Education - or the lack thereof - affects the crime rate.
     -- Nearly 80 percent of individuals in prison do not have a high school
     -- 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
     teachers, higher education faculty, education support professionals,
     administrators, retired educators and students preparing to become

SOURCE National Education Association