The National Dropout Prevention Center reports that each year's class of dropouts costs the country over $200 billion in lost lifetime earnings and unrealized tax revenue. In addition, since 75 percent of America's state prison inmates are high school dropouts, a 1 percent increase in high school graduation rates would save approximately $1.4 billion in incarceration costs, according to the Alliance for Excellent Education. These are serious statistics that concern everyone in the education system, but Martha Liddell is doing something about it.
Liddell, superintendent of Columbus Municipal School District in Mississippi, was instrumental in launching Project 2020, a local dropout prevention program. Now, the state of Mississippi wants to adopt her district's methods, and the program may even go nationwide.