- Earning a high school diploma is perhaps the most important determinant of a person’s future in the United States. High school dropouts are more likely than those who graduate to be arrested or have a child while still a teenager, both of which incur additional financial and social costs.
- Every student who does not complete high school costs our society an estimated $260,000 in lost earnings, taxes, and productivity.
- For all of Weld County, the high school graduation rate was 82.1%.
- For the 2015-2016 Colorado standardized tests of Weld County students, a whopping 61.2% (almost two thirds) were not reading and writing at the expected level by fourth grade.In recent years, more than 1,000 homeless students attended Weld County schools, a number that is continuing to rise as affordable housing becomes increasingly scarce in northern Colorado.
- Approximately 475 young people per year become involved with the county’s criminal justice system. Many more at-risk teenagers and young adults live in our community undetected by schools, the criminal justice system and social services.
- Over the past two years, more than 1,800 youth received United Way of Weld County recreation scholarships to help them participate in sports and activities in recreation departments and towns throughout Weld County.
The National Research Council asserts that “academic success, as defined by high school graduation, can be predicted with reasonable accuracy by knowing someone’s reading skill at the end of third grade. A person who is not at least a moderately skilled reader by that time is unlikely to graduate from high school.” Up until the end of third grade, most children are learning to read. Beginning in fourth grade, however, they are reading to learn, using their skills to gain more information in subjects such as math and science, to solve problems, to think critically about what they are learning, and to act upon and share that knowledge in the world around them. Black and Hispanic children who are not reading proficiently in third grade are twice as likely as similar white children not to graduate from high school (about 25 versus 13 percent).