This is the second of three posts written in response to a post on the NCTE connected community listserv in reaction to Krashen and Ohanian, "Arne Duncan's position on education and poverty." I will not post the original comment and will refer to it only minimally, because, although I have given my permission to quote and share my posts, others posting on the NCTE listserv have not.
Does improved school performance help the economy? Does it help people find (better) jobs?
For school success to impact the economy, the jobs must first exist. Good school performance does not create jobs. To create jobs in the private sector, you need (1) an increase in jobs from established companies, which isn't happening despite their huge cash assets; (2) new companies, which require credit, which banks are not providing. The other source of jobs is the government. Letter writer B.L. Wilder in USA Today pointed out a few days ago that "plenty of jobs are out there, but no one wants to pay people to do them. We have a crumbling infrastructure in the US … only government will pay people to fix highways, bridges, schools and so forth."
Yes, some individuals have been able to find better jobs because of their education, but in general, the private sector, banks, and the government need to work to increase employment: Better tests scores won't make this happen.