Education makes future brighter

Published 10:08 am Wednesday, July 1, 2009

We all know that education can help lead to success, but thanks to the United Way we can now get an idea exactly how much success.

The United Way of America and American Human Development Project (AHDP) have created what they are calling the Common Good Forecaster, an Internet-based calculating program that projects how community social and economic conditions might be affected as citizens reach higher levels of educational attainment.

This forecaster is an interesting tool to tinker with and helps quantify the impact education can have on all our lives.

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The United Way has said its goal is to cut high school dropout rates in half by 2018 and the organization hopes the Common Good Forecaster will help make this dream a reality.

There are a variety of scenarios that can be projected but one of the most compelling is if all adults in the county move up one education level — those without high school diplomas would graduate, those with a high school degree would get some college and those with some college would earn a four-year diploma.

In Lawrence County, that change would do a number of interesting things:

 Cut the unemployment rate from 5.5 percent to 3.3 percent.

Raise the median personal income from $26,677 to $35,902.

 Cut the poverty rate from the current 19 percent to 10.5.

The average life expectancy may increase from 73.7 years to 76.2.

The average number of murders per 100,000 people would drop from a scary 8.5 to 2.4.

It could increase the percentage of those voting from 58.2 percent to 73.8 percent.

All these show positive changes education has on a community.

Are these results set in stone or guaranteed? Of course not but logic and the study’s numerical methodology certainly make sense.

So Lawrence County’s forecast looks bright if we continue to work together as a community to educate our citizens for the future.