No education-income link?
In the Atlantic, Rachel M. Cohen says, surprisingly, that “a growing body of research debunks the idea that school quality is the main determinant of economic mobility.” Read “Education Isn’t The Key To A Good Income” in full at http://theatln. tc/2yxwtn3. Here’s an excerpt.
Broadly speaking, the idea is that if more kids graduate from high school, and achieve higher scores on standardized tests, then more young people are likely to go to college, and, in turn, land jobs that can secure them spots in the middle class.
(University of California at Berkeley economist Jesse) Rothstein’s new work complicates this narrative. Using data from several national surveys, Rothstein sought to scrutinize (a Stanford) team’s work — looking to further test their hypothesis that the quality of a child’s education has a significant impact on her ability to advance out of the social class into which she was born.
Rothstein, however, found little evidence to support that premise. Instead, he found that differences in local labor markets — for example, how similar industries can vary across different communities — and marriage patterns, such as higher concentrations of single-parent households, seemed to make much more of a difference than school quality. He concludes that factors like higher minimum wages, the presence and strength of labor unions, and clear career pathways within local industries are likely to play more important roles in facilitating a poor child’s ability to rise up the economic ladder when they reach adulthood. For Rothstein, there’s no reason to assume that improving schools will be necessary or sufficient for improving someone’s economic prospects. “We can’t educate people out of this problem,” he says.