Sunday, October 30, 2005

Children and our economy

From a New York Times article today, in Business:
But what if our educational shortcomings could be put in strictly economic terms, instead of being part of a humanitarian debate? What, in short, does it cost the nation when a child drops out of high school? That was the focus of a symposium at Teachers College at Columbia University last week called "The Social Costs of Inadequate Education," part of the college's Campaign for Educational Equity.

The answer is hundreds of billions of dollars. Looking at taxes alone, the researchers calculated that federal and state income tax receipts would be at least $50 billion higher each year if every high school dropout had graduated instead. And billions more are lost, the researchers figure, to added health costs and increased crime.

Hubert B. Herring

The rest of the brief article is here.

Just thought this would be of interest to supporters of public education. Now the challenge from that is to see if No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is pulling its weight in educating competent young people.
I find it especially challenging because NCLB is punitive rather than proactive--starving schools of funding if they fail to meet certain criteria. And those criteria are met with scores from standardized tests.

And guess what: special ed students have to be included in these standardized tests with no modifications. Or bare minimum modifications. My son, who barely knows how to add will have to take the standard 9th or 10th grade exam. His score could drag the whole school down.

Is that fair?

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