Back to School: Education Promotes Economic Health

As public schools emerge from their pandemic-era challenges, this month may be a good time to remind ourselves just how important an educated populace is to the nation’s economic future.

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    Back to School: Education Promotes Economic Health

    Back to School: Education Promotes Economic Health

    August is Back to School Month, serving notice to parents, children and teachers that it’s time to get prepared for another year of study.

    As public schools emerge from their pandemic-era challenges, this month may be a good time to remind ourselves just how important an educated populace is to the nation’s economic future.

    No Longer a World Leader

    In the first half of the 20th century, the United States had the highest high school enrollment rate of any nation. By 2017, we had slipped to ranking below 11 countries in the share of 25-34 year olds that completed some post-secondary education.1

    One of the most troubling slides in America’s global education leadership has been in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education—subjects critical to economic competitiveness in the 21st century. For instance, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the U.S placed 31st among all nations in a standardized math assessment and 15th in science in 2018.2

    One consequence of American students lagging in the subjects of math and science is that many key college-level STEM programs are principally comprised of foreign students. For example, foreign nationals account for huge shares of full-time graduate students in mechanical engineering (81%), computer science (79%) and industrial engineering (75%).3 In a future where economic dominance will be determined by leadership in artificial intelligence, robotics and quantum computing, a generation deficient in math and science will be hard pressed to maintain the nation’s mantle of innovative and economic leadership.

    As the quality and duration of education for younger generations diminish, the impact on the economic vitality of the nation is potentially ominous, especially given the advanced knowledge required to drive a modern economy.

    Importance of Education

    Education and job training are essential inputs into the human capital that powers a nation’s economy and innovation. The more educated and skilled workers are, the higher they tend to earn and the more likely they are to be employed. Higher earning, more stable employment helps families and communities thrive financially, as well as provides the fuel to grow businesses and fund important government programs.

    Education also benefits the economy and community in other ways. Education improves equality of attainment, lifting the economically disadvantaged segments of the population, which can reduce societal plagues, such as crime, drug abuse and homelessness.

    Education, it turns out, is important to all segments of society if we are to deliver on the promises made to an older generation and meet the hopes of younger generations.

    Sources:

     

    1. https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/Chapter-4-new.pdf
    2. https://www.oecd.org/pisa/PISA%202018%20Insights%20and%20Interpretations%20FINAL%20PDF.pdf
    3. https://americanaffairsjournal.org/2019/02/americas-stem-crisis-threatens-our-national-security/

    Please reference disclosures: https://blog.americanportfolios.com/disclosures/

     

     

    About The Author

     

    Vice President of Business Services 
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