Report: Closing educational gap huge boost for economy

Improving education for minority communities would boost the U.S. economy by trillions of dollars over the next 35 years, according to a new study from a liberal group.

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The Center for American Progress (CAP) said that the U.S. economy would be almost 6 percent bigger in 2050 if black and Latino children catch up with white children educationally.

That would make the U.S. economy some $2.3 trillion larger in 2050. CAP also said that the economy would grow about $550 billion a year between 2014 and 2050, adding up to some $20.4 trillion in all.

To the study’s authors, the findings show that increasing government funding for education would end up paying for itself over time. CAP projects that the economic growth spurred by improving the U.S. education system would increase federal, state and local revenues by almost $200 billion annually over the next 37 years.

“Black and Hispanic children make up an ever-larger share of our population and our workforce, and one of the greatest problems they face is lagging achievement gaps,” said Robert Lynch, a senior fellow at the Center of American Progress, who wrote the study with CAP’s Patrick Oakford.

“Even using a conservative analysis, it’s clear that major public investments toward closing education gaps would more than pay for themselves in the form of increased GDP and tax revenues.”

Some economists have said that education is one area that policymakers examine as they try to slow down the 35-year growth in income inequality.

But Democrats and Republicans have had issues finding common ground on education policy in recent years. Republicans are generally interested in giving state and local governments more influence over schools, and back school choice.