How to take Public Ed to the Next Level and Generate $225 Trillion

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Reposted from Forbes:

We set out to determine the costs and benefits of taking U.S. schoolkids from their middling global rankings to top five in the world, as measured by math scores and rates for high school graduation, college entry and four-year college completion.

There’s no other way to put this: The resulting numbers were big. Really big.The investment required to implement all five would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $6.2 trillion, spread over 20 years. Or $310 billion a year in today’s dollars. And the payoff, as calculated by factoring in all those additional, better-skilled high school and college graduates on our national GDP? Almost $225 trillion, spread over an 80-year time horizon, which incorporates an entire generation’s professional achievement.

There are, of course, numerous assumptions in this exercise, from the political (school leadership gains would require new collective bargaining agreements in many states) to implementation (initial forays into universal pre-K have produced results well short of our expectations). But we did encourage the researchers to be conservative in their approach. The blended-learning assumptions forecast none of the personnel or textbook cost savings that would almost surely come from having students learning in part via online tools. Teacher efficacy focuses solely on recruiting great new teachers, versus removing lousy ones. And so on…

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