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A Think Twice Review of:

The Economic Benefits of Closing Education Achievement Gaps

Think Twice - Dec 04, 2014

Publisher/Think Tank - Center for American Progress (CAP)

Author(s) - Robert Lynch and Patrick Oakford

This report from the Center for American Progress (CAP) claimed that closing racial and ethnic achievement gaps would have substantial economic benefits, including raising incomes and the size of the economy. The gains would result from higher levels of student achievement and specifically from higher achievement by minority students. The report estimates that if Black and Hispanic high school math scores converged to equal those of white high school students, the size of the U.S. economy would increase by $20 trillion. Additionally, federal and state/local tax revenues would increase as a result.

Reviewer(s) - Clive Belfield, Queens College, City University of New York (CUNY)

In his review, Professor Clive Belfield says, “the report does not include much detail concerning specific calculations, and does not check the accuracy of its estimates.” According to Belfield, “the report does not provide enough detail for readers to see how big the efficiency gains are, and readers are asked to accept that closing achievement gaps – rather than raising graduation rates or enhancing socioemotional skills – will lead to the biggest economic pay-off.” In his conclusion, Belfield affirms that despite being helpful to policymakers, a closer look at the economic models would be useful for deciding how much investment is needed for long-term improvements.