14.10.13

WHAT ARE THE SCHOOLS TEACHING?

Sadhbh Walsh suggests that differences in developing human capital produce differences in the returns to human capital.
It doesn't bode well for the future then that so many American students, particularly low-income and minority students, are graduating high school without basic reading or math skills. Nor does it inspire confidence that students who leave school without basic skills are not acquiring them as adults. So America's alleged dumbness has a lot to do with inadequate schooling for (poor) children and teenagers and a dearth of continuing education opportunities for low-income adults. By contrast, the OECD study found that in (more equal) countries that fared better in the tests, like Finland, Denmark and the Netherlands, more than 60% of the adult population have engaged in continuing education programs or on the job training.
Denmark and the Netherlands are relatively homogeneous populations, at least over intervals in which returns to human capital in adults are concerned.  I'll also conjecture that in Finland, Suomi oppression of Sami probably is less important than reading, writing, and arithmetic in the schools.  If I'm in error, please let me know.  Inadequate schooling in the United States, against a background of identity politics crowding out learning, and life management skills viewed as oppression, only helps keep the poor poor.

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