All across America, preparations are underway for high school graduation. It’s a glorious time, representing both a milestone and a gateway to adulthood.

But missing from this year’s ceremonies are more than one million kids who dropped out and will not be attending graduation day.

The future those high school dropouts face is chilling. They will have a much harder time getting a job and will earn much less than those who did graduate. They’re also more likely to commit a crime and more likely to be the victim of one.

In short, many of them face a life that will be so much more difficult—all because they could not or chose not to finish high school.

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