Our guest blogger is Ulrich Boser, a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.
Increasingly, researchers believe that even moderate gains in student achievement can provide massive economic benefits. According to a report released by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development last year, an American male who obtains a college degree earns a whopping $367,000 more over his lifetime than a worker who does not. Another report by the same organization found that a small jump in student achievement could translate into an estimated economic benefit to the county of $40 billion in GDP by 2090.
That’s why the President’s announcement of a proposed $3 billion increase in education funding in his fiscal year 2011 budget is so important — the dollars can go a long way to help the economy and prepare all students for the rigors of college and the modern workplace. This is one of the largest funding increases for federal education programs ever requested. Plus, the President plans an additional $1 billion in funding if Congress reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA).
Of course, when it comes to education, it’s results that matter, not money, and as our education team has highlighted in a number of reports, our nation must do far more to improve the achievement of all students regardless of their family background. And the President’s budget clearly reflects that fact by advocating for important education reforms, from investing in school-community partnerships to turning around low-performing schools.
The administration also takes on one of the most pressing reforms in education today, teacher quality, and invests almost a billion dollars in a new program that will increase the number of effective teachers and principals in high-needs schools. Called the Teacher and Leader Innovation Fund, the program will offer competitive awards to states and districts that take performance-based approaches to recruiting, retaining, and rewarding effective educators. The initiative is also very similar to a proposal that Robin Chait offered in a report last January; a competitive grant program that would help seed local teacher effectiveness reforms. Read more