Monday, May 18, 2015

Another Debunking of Ed Deform, Race to the Top - Unconstrained faith in education's economic power lacks evidentiary base, review finds

The reviewers conclude, "Claiming that the primary solution to a wide array of economic problems is to improve ‘human capital,' the report perpetuates a problematic myth that undervalues alternative ways to address poverty and economic insecurity."
I love these Great Lakes Center reports that often expose the ed deform myth, of which one of the keys is that the key to economic growth is education -- and since the same deformers claim the key to education is "effective teachers" -- in other words, if the economy is faltering, blame the teachers -- the basis of Obama/Duncan, deform ed ideology. But we know the real reason - these are shells for hide the privatization cover for doing ed on the cheap -- since teacher salaries are the biggest component of ed spending-- let's cheapen teachers and undermine their unions to the point where charters don't have to offer competitive salaries and we can create a lower base, especially in the urban areas.

One interesting sidelight, which I will get into another time, is that most cities are AFT and Randi full well knows that this is coming and is as good an explanation as any for playing on both sides of the fence as a way to make deals with deformers to preserve her power structure, even if reduced.


Contact:
Marvin Lazerson, +498022662345 (Germany), marvinlazerson@t-online.de
Daniel Quinn, (517) 203-2940, dquinn@greatlakescenter.org

Unconstrained faith in education's economic power lacks evidentiary base, review finds

EAST LANSING, Mich. (May 18, 2015) – A recent report from the Hamilton Project sought to study how public investment in education will further long-term prosperity, economic growth, and individual economic security.  The inquiry focused on whether or not a bachelor's degree or higher education would increase economic prosperity and reduce economic inequality.  A review of the report released today finds that it oversimplifies the importance of college degrees in boosting the economy, while rejecting the widely held view that education can substantially reduce economic inequality.

Marvin Lazerson, professor of higher education policy at Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, and emeritus professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and Ryan Pfleger, a doctoral student in Educational Foundations, Policy, and Practice at the University of Colorado Boulder, reviewed Increasing Education: What it Will and Will Not Do for Earnings and Earnings Inequality for the Think Twice think tank review project of the National Education Policy Center (NEPC), with funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The report examines three possible components of education's economic power: (1) education is the critical factor in creating sustainable economic prosperity; (2) college and advanced degrees increase earnings power for individuals; and (3) a broad base of increased educational attainment will narrow income inequality.

In the review, the authors find that the report and its assertions are straightforward and use an empirically-based simulation for future projections.  However, the report has several limitations.
Specifically, Lazerson and Pfleger find the following insufficiencies:
  1. there is little direct evidence in the report to show that increasing educational attainment is the most "efficient and effective," as the report describes, way to improve prosperity;
  2. the data are drawn are only from males, with no attention paid to gender, race, field of study, labor-market conditions, or institutional reputation; and
  3. no data were analyzed to evaluate other ways to address economic problems.
The reviewers note that the findings of the report are illuminating, "because more schooling increases, on average, the income of individuals in comparison to those not receiving advanced schooling." However, the reviewers contend that more direct actions are necessary, and the use of schools as a lever to improve economic conditions is an indirect method.
The reviewers conclude, "Claiming that the primary solution to a wide array of economic problems is to improve ‘human capital,' the report perpetuates a problematic myth that undervalues alternative ways to address poverty and economic insecurity."

Read his full review at:
http://www.greatlakescenter.org
Find Increasing Education: What it Will and Will Not Do for Earnings and Earnings Inequality on the web: http://www.hamiltonproject.org/papers/increasing_education_what_it_will_and_will_not_do_for_earnings_inequal/
Think Twice, a project of the National Education Policy Center, provides the public, policymakers and the press with timely, academically sound reviews of selected publications. The project is made possible by funding from the Great Lakes Center for Education Research and Practice.

The review can also be found on the NEPC website:
http://nepc.colorado.edu

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