Reports released today by the California Dropout Research Project estimate that the students who drop out of high school in a single year in San Diego will cost the area more than $534 million over their lifetimes. Dropouts in Chula Vista are estimated to cost nearly $137 million.

The estimates include losses in taxes from lower wages and criminal costs. The researchers also calculated that halving the dropout rate would avert 435 homicides and aggravated assaults in San Diego and 50 such crimes in Chula Vista.

The project, based at the University of California Santa Barbara, aims to draw together research on the dropout problem to educate the public. Its work has not always been lauded: Last year the group highlighted schools with high dropout rates, including a Vista charter school that specifically serves teens who have dropped out of other schools. Educators at that school and others named in the report complained last year that it depended on flawed state data and was presented with little context.

To see the reports and read more research from the California Dropout Research Project, click here.


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