The High Cost of High School Dropouts

dropouts cost 1.8 billion/year in lost tax revenuesWe’ve all heard about how important education is, how much more money high-school grads make compared to dropouts, how much more than that people with bachelor’s degrees make, and so on up the educational ladder.  But it wasn’t until just last month that the federal government put two and two together and figured out that all that extra earning power could be taxed. The bottom line? High school dropouts cost us about $1.8 billion in lost tax revenues every year.

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Two Important Points about the Aurora Shooting

The horrific shooting in Colorado has been so extensively analyzed that there’s almost nothing left to say. Almost. There are two issues that should be getting more attention.

First, we need to acknowledge that three of the victims were men who used their own bodies to protect their girlfriends. We’re going to hear a lot over the next months and years about how males are violent, but it’s important that we not forget that men are also heroic (far more often than they’re violent). Without giving a second thought to their own safety, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves gave their lives so the women they loved could live.

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Hit me, school principal, one more time…

When I was in elementary school, I was not the easiest of kids. I had (and still do have) some serious authority problems, interrupted my teachers, was rude and disrespectful. And that was on my good days. On my less-than-good days I was throwing paper airplanes (that I’d specially modified with a pin sticking out of the nose). All of that made me a regular fixture in Mr. Tague’s office. And it always seemed to me that when he saw me coming, Mr. Tague, the principal, got a gleam in his eye. And why not? He was about to paddle my butt with a large wooden racquet of some kind. (Where did anyone come up with the “the principal is your pal” as a way to remember how to spell principal?)

I used to tell my kids about my butt paddling experiences—partly to impress them with how difficult my childhood had been, partly to emphasize how lucky they were not to be living in more barbaric times. So you can imagine how shocked I was when I read that spanking by school administrators is still allowed by law in 19 states. In Georgia alone, more than 28,000 students were spanked (usually with a Tague-like paddle)

It’s against the law for prison guards to hit prisoners unless it’s in self-defense. And it’s against regulations for a drill instructor to hit a recruit in boot camp. So why on earth is it okay for some school principal or teacher to smack our kids around?

Personally, I’m against spanking (no sense rehashing the whole spanking debate here—another example of a topic where it’s nearly impossible to change anyone’s mind). But I can imagine that even if I thought it was okay, I wouldn’t want someone else deciding how, when, what for, and how long to hit my child.

According to the Center for Effective Discipline, here are the states that allow corporal punishment in schools: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wyoming. If you’re in one of those states, please write your congressperson or senator and ask them to help drag your state out of the dark ages.