Special Reports

How Improving School Quality Leads To Economic Gains


Now that federal government has a smaller role in public school education, state and local governments should take advantage of this freedom and flexibility. If states want to see economic gains in the future, political leaders should focus on improving school quality.

According to Education Next, students who learn more in school are the ones who stay longer in the educational system and become more skilled as well as productive participants in the state's workforce. While there may be some who will migrate to other states, majority of these students have been noted to join the labor market in their own state.

Their contribution would directly lead to economic strength. In the long run, each state would receive a good return rate on successful efforts to enhance school quality.

In the publication's study, it was revealed that there is a strong relationship between the achievement component of the knowledge capital of a state's adult workers and economic growth. States who suffered from low math achievement levels on their workforces, such as Alabama, Mississippi, Utah and Nevada, had disappointing rates of economic growth.

On the other hand, states such as North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Texas, Massachusetts and Virginia have significantly higher levels of math achievement. This, in turn, gave them higher rates of economic growth.

There are other states that had low rates of economic growth despite its workers having high achievement rates. However, the overall results claim that achievement levels have a positive correlation with economic growth.

Some believe that the correlation may just be a causal relationship since students may learn more when their state is performing well in the economic area. The publication noted that there is a weak correlation between increased spending on schools and higher levels of achievement.

It was added that education reforms would take 10 years to be fully effective and that the labor force would only improve as new and more skilled workers replace the old ones.

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