In a new opinion piece, author and national school reform leader Kevin Chavous says the United States must, once again, urgently work to close the achievement gap for its students. He argues that this directly impacts the country economically. Based on a report by McKinsey & Company, he explains how these gaps (international achievement gap, the racial achievement gap, the income achievement gap, and system-based achievement gap) significantly affect the nation’s economic and budgetary future, along with that of its children.
While failing to close the racial and income achievement gaps has impacted the nation’s GDP (the report said by at least $310 billion and $525 billion), the most alarming is the international achievement gap. This gap is calculated by comparing the education results of all US students with the educational outputs of kids from other industrialized nations in the world. A Harvard study ranks the US 25th out of 49 countries for student test-score gains over 14 years.
Chavous explains, “McKinsey pointed out that if the US had closed the international achievement gap between 1983 and 1998 and raised its performance to the level of nations such as Finland and South Korea, the United States gross domestic product would have been between $1.3 trillion and $2.3 trillion higher in 2008.”
So what can be done about this? Chavous says we must begin putting kids first, communities must take ownership of their schools and become involved, and ensure quality of education for every child in every school.
Read the full opinion piece here.