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Monitoring Child Well-being

The expert testimony, research, scholarship, and lived experience collected by the Commission revealed the following:

  • When students drop out of high school, it can significantly impair the quality of their individual lives and the prosperity and competitiveness of the communities in which they live. On average, a high school graduate in Missouri earns $8,109 more each year than a high school dropout (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2012).
  • Roughly 18,000 students in Missouri dropped out of high school in 2011; the lost lifetime earnings from that class of dropouts is estimated to total $2.3 billion (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2011). Between 2010 and 2012, nationally, 80 percent of Black and 73 percent of Hispanic students at public schools graduated within four years, compared to the 89 percent of White students (Stetser & Stillwell, 2014).
  • About 1.3 million students dropped out of  United States high schools in 2004, costing the economy more than $325 billion in lost wages, taxes, and productivity (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2012). The more than 12 million students who will drop out over the next decade are expected to cost the nation about $3 trillion (Alliance for Excellent Education, 2012).
  • Some schools, districts, and states use early-warning data to identify students at high risk for dropping out. These early-warning systems use academic indicators such as course grades, GPA, class rank, behavior marks, and attendance rates to indicate which students  have a high risk of not graduating, allowing the schools to intervene before it is too late. Research on identifying potential dropouts has found that reliable predictors can be tracked as early as 4th-6th grade (Pinkus, 2008).

These findings prompted the Commission to draft calls to action for more sophisticated monitoring of child well-being across the community. One place to start is in the area of academic performance, though a similar commitment to monitoring and coordinating responses is relevant for many areas.

To that end, the Commission issues the calls to action below.

Take Action

Support great school climates

While policy changes are important to changing the landscapes of our schools, it is only effective when paired with culture changes. Engage with your child’s school to facilitate a great school climate and culture for all students, teachers and administrators. This can take the form of attending PTA meetings, starting discussion groups with other parents, or…

Tags Youth at the CenterAligning Resources to Foster Innovation and Build Capacity
Take Action 

Suggested Reading List

Alliance for Excellent Education (2012). Missouri high schools. Retrieved from:  

Data for Action, (2014). State analysis:Missouri. Retrieved from:

Kittle, M. (2011). Dropout rate costs Missouri economy millions a year. Southeast Missourian. Retrieved from:


  1. Alliance for Excellent Education. (2012). Missouri high schools. Retrieved from:  
  2. Alliance for Excellent Education. (2011). The high cost of high school dropouts,” Retrieved from:
  3. Data for Action, (2014). State analysis:Missouri. Retrieved from:
  4. Pinkus, L., (2008). Using early-warning data to improved graduation rates:Closing cracks in the education system. Alliance for Excellent Education. Retrieved from:
  5. Stetser, M. & Stillwell, R. (2014). Public high school four-year on time graduation rates and event dropout rates:School Years 2010– 11 and 2011–12. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved from: