The New York Times on Friday led with a story about a new Stanford University study that found the education gap between kids from wealthier families and ones struggling with poverty widened to a giant chasm over the last generation. Specifically, since 1940, the gap between affluent and low-income kids' achievement on standardized reading tests grew by 40 percent. If past is prologue, the kids at the bottom of this gap are more likely to stay there as they grow older, are more likely to drop out of high school, are more likely to be raising their own kids in poverty and are less likely to contribute to economic growth, innovation and competitiveness. That's why this phenomenon is called the "cycle of poverty." If poverty is at epidemic levels -- and it is -- then education isn't only a symptom, it is the cure. Over and over, studies have shown that investing in education, particularly when kids are at the very youngest -- when they are learning how to learn -- is the path out of poverty for kids and the path toward greater economic and cultural security for our nation.
- According to a McKinsey study, if our educational achievement were the same as other, better-performing nations, the Gross Domestic Product in 2008 would have been 9 to 16 percent higher than it was.
- This Bloomberg chart reveals a direct correlation between global math achievement of high-school-age kids and global per capita GDP.
- The Brookings Institute found that a meaningful investment in early childhood education would add $2 trillion to our gross domestic product within a generation.