How to Make the US $76 Trillion Richer: Education

 

I’ve said it would be better for the GOP presidential nominee if voters thought of him or her as having a great education plan rather than a great tax plan. Voters assume Republicans want to cut taxes. They’re probably a bit fuzzier on what the GOP wants to do about education, other than maybe school vouchers. But education is pro-growth. It is supply-side economics. Check out the new paper “Economic Gains for U.S. States from Educational Reform” by Eric Hanushek, Jens Ruhose, and Ludger Woessmann:

Our analysis of state economic development allows us to estimate the economic gain from improving the quality of K-12 schools in each state. Consistent with analysis of country differences in growth rates, we estimate growth regressions across U.S. states. We find that there is a strong relationship between a state’s growth and the quality of its workforce. Our measures of the human capital in each state directly link the productive skills of the workforce to the quality of schools in the state. …

Using our state growth results, we project out the economic value of improving schools in each state. While we consider a range of reform scenarios for education policy, our results suggest that feasible quality improvements are associated with very large economic returns that could exceed the total spending on K-12 education.

For example, the value of a reform that would lift each state to the currently top-performing state would amount to an aggregate $76 trillion for the United States. Our analysis shows that, because of the large differences in states’ current achievement levels, the economic value of such a reform differs widely across states. …

The impacts of educational improvements clearly take a considerable time to be realized. Improving the performance of today’s students does not lead to an improved labor force until these students have left school and entered into employment and until more skilled workers become a significant portion of the labor force. As a result, the economic gains come in the future – beyond the normal election cycles for current politicians.

To some, this discrepancy between terms in office and the economic returns to improved schools implies that politicians will not take optimal actions but instead will underinvest in improved schools. But, there are clear other examples where politicians take long-run actions that far exceed election cycles: actions of climate change or actions on procurement of new weapon systems for defense, for example. The future economic well-being of the U.S. depends on improvement of the American schools, and it seems overly cynical to presume that the elected leadership is incapable or unlikely to take actions that are distinctly in the long-run interest of their country.

Hey, $76 trillion is a big number! But we are talking over the course of nearly a century. A different way of putting it is that boosting educational attainment, if I read this right, would lift the long-run US annual GDP growth rate by a third of percentage point. That’s pretty significant when you are now talking about long-run growth of just 2 percent a year.

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  1. BrentB67 Member
    BrentB67
    @BrentB67

    Here’s my plan: eliminate the federal department of education and eliminate student lending. Brag about how Republicans have 30+ state houses and we trust and believe in them to lead on education.

    • #1
  2. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    An improvement in education? Who disagrees with that?

    It will never happen as we will never agree on how to achieve it.

    • #2
  3. RushBabe49 Thatcher
    RushBabe49
    @RushBabe49

    The required first step to improved K-12 education is immediately de-certify all teacher unions.  With the demise of the Education department, the schools can lay off anyone with “diversity” in their job title, and direct all saved funds right into the classrooms.

    • #3
  4. Flapjack Member
    Flapjack
    @Flapjack

    Part of the puzzle – Have funds follow the students and allow for very open school choice.  Private, parochial, charter, public, whatever.  Of course, there are a number of other “reforms” that would have to occur as well, but opening the gates to school choice where money follows the kiddo is, I think, key.

    • #4
  5. Black Prince Member
    Black Prince
    @BlackPrince

    RushBabe49:The required first step to improved K-12 education is immediately de-certify all teacher unions. With the demise of the Education department, the schools can lay off anyone with “diversity” in their job title, and direct all saved funds right into the classrooms.

    Totally agree!

    • #5
  6. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    So how do the authors propose to give all children parents who give a [expletive]?

    • #6
  7. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    It is doubtful that Republicans can get big government to work. Instead of focusing on government education. Why not focus on what skills make people money and then establishing for-profit training schools. Asians in Asia (who can afford it) tend not to trust that their government provided education does a sufficient job to educate their children and send them to additional schools.

    • #7
  8. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Fricosis Guy:So how do the authors propose to give all children parents who give a [expletive]?

    How about empowering those parents with some power and control over their child’s education?

    Sick to death of the narrative that it’s the parents’ fault. My parents had zero involvement in my public school education and somehow all five of their kids got a good education.

    Here’s my question: So how do the authors propose to give all children a teacher who will do their (expletive – ing) job?

    • #8
  9. Flapjack Member
    Flapjack
    @Flapjack

    Annefy:

    Fricosis Guy:So how do the authors propose to give all children parents who give a [expletive]?

    Here’s my question: So how do the authors propose to give all children a teacher who will do their (expletive – ing) job?

    Give building principals power to hire and fire as they see fit.  That, I believe, is Step 1.

    Edit:  I write the above as a classroom teacher.

    • #9
  10. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Flapjack:

    Annefy:

    Fricosis Guy:So how do the authors propose to give all children parents who give a [expletive]?

    Here’s my question: So how do the authors propose to give all children a teacher who will do their (expletive – ing) job?

    Give building principals power to hire and fire as they see fit. That, I believe, is Step 1.

    Edit: I write the above as a classroom teacher.

    That would be my step 2.

    Step 1 would give parents the power to take their business elsewhere; in effect fire the principal.

    • #10
  11. Flapjack Member
    Flapjack
    @Flapjack

    Annefy – I suspect you and I are of one mind on this matter.

    • #11
  12. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    Flapjack:Annefy – I suspect you and I are of one mind on this matter.

    I agree. As a parent, I get tired of parents getting all the blame while having none of the power.

    There’s no one answer/solution. There’s a different solution for every, single kid. I have a friend who was laid off from his teaching position and started his own small “academy”. Kids are grouped by ability, not age.

    His school runs from 9 – 1 Monday through Thurs. Has about 10 students and is making a good living for a part time job. My fantasy is thousands and thousands of schools with a similar model with students grouped by abilities and interests and schedules.

    • #12
  13. Fricosis Guy Listener
    Fricosis Guy
    @FricosisGuy

    Flapjack:

    Annefy:

    Fricosis Guy:So how do the authors propose to give all children parents who give a [expletive]?

    Here’s my question: So how do the authors propose to give all children a teacher who will do their (expletive – ing) job?

    You’re right, this was uncharitable. By product of frustration with how indolently some “my” parish families catechize their kids.

    • #13
  14. Darin Johnson Member
    Darin Johnson
    @user_648569

    It might be good politics to talk about improving education outcomes, but it doesn’t seem like very good science. So far, the most reliable predictor of good outcomes appears to be smart kids. Hard to run on that, though.

    • #14

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