Education Week: Study Links Rise in Test Scores to Nations’ Output

February 25, 2010

After attending a Career and Technical Education training this week I started to look around for some data.  And even after two days of facts and figures, this article stood out to me.

Economists have tied actual GDP numbers to improving education.  Something that we all felt was true, but here are some hard figures to consider.

Just adding 25 points to the U.S. PISA test score would add 3% to our nation’s GDP.  While that may not seem like a huge impact, that would actually be $41 trillion dollars over the lifetime of a person born in 2010.  Or, a 25% increase in personal income during that time.

Considering our current recession, many states have resorted to cuts in education.  That’s like a company cutting its research and development budget right when they need it the most.  It’s short-sighted and dangerous, but practically inevitable.

But as you read the article, notice the last paragraph.  Eric A. Hanushek, an economist at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University discusses the use of resources, particular the deployment of effective teachers.  If you use effective teachers in the most-needed areas, you can gain tremendous results without significant increases in cost.

As an example, let’s return to our 25 point increase.  Mr. Hanushek claims that if you replace a mere 2% of teachers categorized as “ineffective” with teachers who are categorized as merely “average”, you can gain your 25 point increase.

So we can solve this problem by just dispatching “average” teachers.  Think where we could be with great teachers!

Education Week: Study Links Rise in Test Scores to Nations’ Output.

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