Sunday, December 15, 2013

THE ECONOMIC EFFECT OF EDUCATION

The constant decline of the education system here in the United States should be of great concern to our society. The myth that quality of education is a result of the level of funding is proving to be false. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan spoke to that when he said that the current rankings should be a wake up call for administrators. There is a strong connection between the failings of our education system and the economic problems we face. To improve the long term vitality of both our economy and domestic job market, we must improve our education system.

The problem with our education system is not that the United States cannot produce good schools. The problem is the variability in the quality of schools from town to town, city to city and state to state. The argument that the results are solely a function of funding is not really holding much water anymore. The United States spends more per student than many other industrialized nation. The manner of how that funding is used could be more important than the total level of funding. Should we really have a large range of models for schools throughout the nation? What good is it to have multitudes of models of schools if they fail at preparing our youth for their future. 


Education is such an important factor in our success both individually and our economy as a whole. If you are one of the unlucky people to be living in a state that ranks low in education, your child will have a harder economic future unless enrolled in a private school. There is a direct correlation between a person's level of education and their income potential. The better the school system the better chance for higher education and a better paying job. Closing the education gap will do much to close the income gap as well. 


The quality of education also affects the quality of the domestic pool of candidates companies have to hire from. Companies are finding it harder to fill some positions domestically and in turn source labor from overseas. The United States is unique in our ability to draw talent from around the world. Immigration reform is a big issue for corporate America not just because of the human side of it but because immigration reform would help them fill positions. The world is becoming a global marketplace not just for goods and services but for labor. If our students are not prepared adequately, they may lose valuable jobs to foreign competition and not just the low wage work.


There are many issues that should be left up to the discretion of the states but with education their needs to be some form of national standards. There needs to some assurance that each child has the ability to participate and compete in the global economy. In the nation with such economic prosperity, it is a shame that we have so many people that graduate without the ability to read and write. Graduating high school should propel you towards your future not the welfare line. Education needs to be reformed to focus on the students not protecting the livelihood of the teacher or the power of the unions. If we want to put people on the path to prosperity, it starts with providing them a world class quality education. Unfortunately many schools cannot do that.