CHICAGO (CBS) — A new report says high school dropouts in Illinois have a low earning power over their lifetimes, and are more likely to spend time behind bars.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, Illinois State Board of Education President Gery Chico, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Jean-Claude Brizard will discuss a report Wednesday morning that shows the detrimental effects of dropping out of high school, as measured by statistics in Illinois.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports


The study was commissioned by the Chicago Urban League, the Alternate Schools Network, and other groups.

It found that 15 percent of men ages 18 to 34 who dropped out of high school have spent time in jail. But this number was even higher when looking at African-Americans, for whom 29 percent of men in the same group have been behind bars.

By comparison, only 3 percent of male high school graduates have been to jail.

The report also says school dropouts cost a net average of about $71,000 during their working years, while high school graduates make a net contribution of about $236,000.

Researchers Andrew Sum, Ishwar Khatiwada, Joseph McLaughlin and Sheila Palma of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston conducted the study.

“Those adults who fail to graduate from high school with a diploma face enormous obstacles in achieving adequate employment, earnings, and incomes over their entire adult life,” they wrote. “The costs of dropping out of high school have increased over time for both the dropouts themselves and for society at large in the form of reduced federal, state, and local taxes and increased expenditures on dropouts in the form of cash and in-kind transfers.”

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