These are leaner times at Harvard. A study finds a disproportionately high rate of imprisonment among high school dropouts. And Paul Krugman warns of the “Uneducated American”. This trilogy of articles from the New York Times of October 9th 2009 showcases consequences of cutting back spending on education.

            Trimming frills at Harvard University, which lost 27% of its endowment since June 2008, is described as fewer cookies, pastries, hot breakfasts and services. At the same time, Harvard has raised student financial aid to $145 million dollars distributed among 60% of its students. (The cost of a year is nearly fifty thousand dollars.)

            The Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston published a new report on the fate of America’s 6.2 million high school dropouts. The most compelling findings are these:

            ►Among men aged 16-24 who were incarcerated in 2006-2007, 9.4% were high school dropouts, and 22.9% were Black.

            ►“Young female dropouts were nine times more likely to have become single mothers than young women who went on to earn college degrees…”

            ►in 2008, 54% of all dropouts and 69% of African-American dropouts had no job.

      "A 2007 study by Teachers College, Princeton and City University of New York researchers … estimated that society could save $209,000 in prison and other costs for every potential dropout who could be helped to complete high school.” I believe we should be doing more to encourage high school students to stay in school.

            Paul Krugman points out that the recession has prompted state and local governments to significantly reduce educational spending, eliminating 143,000 jobs in the past five months. He warns that this threatens the commanding position that the United States has held in higher education since World War II, relative to other advanced countries; and erodes a critical component of our success as a nation.