“I live in the Codman square area of Dorchester, and I am one person that can definitely say that I truly love my community. I love the people, the hidden opportunities it presents and just the overall atmosphere. Unfortunately everything has flaws, and one flaw that is most prevalent in my community is the lack of education. There are a countless number of teenagers dropping out of Boston public schools all around me…And in this day and age, without an education it will be nearly impossible to live comfortably in Boston”
These are the words of Hyacynth Dixon’s passionate essay on how she would IGNITE Change in her community. Hyacynth is aware, as many young people are that a high percentage of her peers are dropping out of high school, a decision that will drastically impact their chances of a comfortable lifestyle. By writing these words Hyacynth won a $1000 scholarship, but more importantly, she reminded us all that we live in a community that needs to address the real crisis this city is facing regarding students dropping out of school.
There are two things we believe in here at Boston GLOW: Facts and Action.
So here are the facts that tell us exactly Why this issue is so urgent:
- On average, graduates will earn $445,000 more in their lifetimes than those without a high school diploma.
- Dropouts comprise 70% of the incarcerated population in MA, This costs an average of $46,000 per person per year.
- Dropouts are twice as likely as high school graduates to depend on public spending.
- The cost to the tax payer for each dropout is $307,000 over a lifetime: $71,000 in public spending costs and $236,000 in lower tax payments
- Over 8,200 Massachusetts students dropped out in 2010.
So that’s a lot of numbers. Think about it this way, the numbers have improved, but each year over 8,000 young people leave our school system. This is 8000 young people who still need housing, food, jobs, and safety.
But, as we explained here, we’re not in it to complain. We’re here to make a difference. So in the spirit of IGNITing Change we wanted to highlight some members of the community who have heard Hyacynth’s voice, are taking action, and what you can do to get involved!
In October of 2009, the Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery Commission published a report for the Commonwealth to substantially lower the dropout rate and support more students to successful graduation with a set of comprehensive recommendations for the next dropout bill:
- 1) Set a goal of reducing the dropout rate by at least 50% by 2016.
- 2) Increase the legal dropout age using a phased-in approach.
- 3) Fund graduation coaches and outreach to dropouts.
- 4) Reduce the negative impact of suspensions and expulsion.
The time is now. Boston GLOW is urging our community to take action regarding Hyacynth's concern. She is a young person who is bravely speaking up for her peers. You can speak out, too.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
- Contact your legislator. (Not sure who they are? CLICK HERE).
- Send THESE FACTS to everyone you know
- Mail a postcard - For stamped postcards, please contact Erica.Mercier@Bostonpic.org
- Share this post! Tweet! Comment! Facebook! Tell your friends!
Also, If you are a young person who has left high school and want to return (or if you know someone who is) please contact 617 635 CARE (2273) or visit the Re-Engagement Center at 55 Malcolm X Blvd. You don’t have to be a statistic!!
Keep Loving, Keep Fighting.