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The Best of Our Knowledge # 859


Most educators across North America agree that access to college starts
in high school. So that's where the problem of getting admitted to college
often begins. In the U.S. alone, over one-million high school students
drop out each year. Half of all African-American and Hispanic students
don't graduate on time. Less than half of all graduates are prepared for
college-level math and science. Unfortunately, this also means millions
of students are forfeiting a million dollars in lifetime earnings, compared
to college graduates. Economists stress the value of reducing dropouts.
A new report is the first major product of the Center For Benefit-Cost
Studies of Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. Dr. Henry
Levin is a Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College
and lead author of the report. It says that if the U.S. were to adopt
wide-scale effective pre-K thru 12 educational interventions, the nation
would gain 45-billion dollars from increased tax revenues and reduced
social costs over the lifetime of high school graduates. You can find out
more about this by going to the Teachers College website at www.tc.columbia.edu. Full text of the study called The Costs and Benefits
of an Excellent Education For America's Children is online at www.cbcse.org. Whether it's this study, or other research, the benefits of not dropping out,
of staying in school and graduating are obvious. Also becoming more clear
are the early indicators...reasons students will drop out of school. Our first
guest on today's show has studied and learned a great deal about these
reasons. Dr. Smink is the Executive Director of the National Dropout
Prevention Center. Dr. Smink explains to TBOOK that his Dropout
Prevention Center is able to identify potential dropouts by looking at
certain aspects of a student's behavior, family, school, and community.
Jim Horne reports. (8:37)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website mentioned at the
conclusion of the above story for listeners interested in finding
out more details on dropout prevention is: www.dropoutprevention.org.

Additionally, for the full text of the Teachers College, Columbia
University study called, The Costs and Benefits of An Excellent
Education for America's Children , go to the Center For Benefit-Cost
Studies of Education website at: www.cbcse.org.)**

President Bush released his 2008 Education Budget last month.
Educators and politicians say the plan shows fiscal restraint. However,
some of the high school programs proposed, address the major causes
of dropouts we heard about in our first story today. Though the total
amount approaches 59-billion dollars, analysts say the budget proposes
a cut of 550-million dollars from the U.S. Department of Education's 2006 spending level. And is about 1.5 billion less than is likely to be spent
this year. Despite the overall education spending decrease, some
programs would received an increase under the President's proposal.
The Pell Grant would get an overall boost to 13.2-billion dollars in 2008.
But to do this, and also increase other programs the administration
believes to be a priority, a total of 44 education programs that received
funding in 2006 would be eliminated. This elicited swift and critical
reaction from people like Luke Swarthout, a Higher-Education Associate
for the State Public Interest Research Groups. Swarthout is quoted in
The Chronicle of Higher Education as saying They're robbing Peter to
pay Pell. Democratic Senator, Teddy Kennedy, Chairman of the Senate Education Committee said the President has used the same old tactics
of robbing other education priorities to pay for his modest increases for
school reform. Kennedy said Our schools and children deserve more
than accounting gimmicks - they need new resources to make progress. TBOOK looks at the pros and cons of the controversial budget proposal.
Glenn Busby reports (8:53)

**(Attention Program Directors. The website mentioned at the
conclusion of the above story for listeners interested in finding
out more details on the education budget proposal is: www.ed.gov.