A national expert in education is sharing information on how higher graduation rates can benefit more than just students in Livingston County and across the state.

Deborah Delisle is the President and CEO of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington D.C.-based non-profit dedicated to ensuring all students graduate well-prepared for college and citizenship. She has worked on all levels from a local school superintendent up to serving as the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education in the Obama Administration. Delisle shares her observations on what she sees when travelling and visiting schools. She says she has observed that not every kid in America is receiving a high-quality education, and that when she walks into a school, the first thing she asks herself is “Is this good enough for my own kid?” Delisle says that if that answer is “no”, she finds it distressing that we allow those schools to be okay for other people’s kids.

Delisle and the Alliance are stressing the importance of raising graduation rates and what effect that can have locally. She says the need and economic benefit of bringing graduation rates up to 90% is much greater than most people realize. The latest numbers from 2016 show Michigan with a 79.8% graduation rate. Delisle says bringing that up another 10% would create roughly $300-million in home sales, more than $20-million in auto sales, and roughly $400-million in health care savings. She says to effectively do so, communities need to look at high school graduation rates as a community issue, and not just a school issue. Delisle says schools should be seen not as a separate entity from the community, but as a center of it; and that whatever happens in the school ultimately has an economic impact on the community. She encourages residents to ensure that school tax dollars are spent in a smart, transparent way; and that kids have access to high quality teachers, support structures, and safe environments.

For more information on the Alliance for Excellent Education, visit their website, www.all4ed.org. (MK)