Comment posted to Will Wilkinson "What Policy Can Do for Growth and What Politics Won’t"
I agree that human capital and physical infrastructure are crucial to growth. I’m even happy to agree that government investment in education has more than paid for itself over the years in added growth. But I also think the evidence points to the idea that returns to public investment in the status quo system of education have diminished to basically nothing. No Democrat is going to do anything to run afoul of their party’s most powerful client in order to promote the deep structural changes needed in primary education to actually improve the quantity and quality of American human capital. So instead we get free money for college, which is Obama’s way of saying “thank you” to the loyal, powerful bloc of Democrats who make their living pouring valuable human capital into nineteen-year-olds by making them pretend to have read Plato and Beloved.My comment:
Wilkinson:> ...promote the deep structural changes needed in primary education to actually improve the quantity and quality of American human capital...But the fact remains that when businesses hire, a person having gone to a private primary school or a charter primary school (as opposed to a public primary school) commands no higher wages. I hire; the issues affects me personally. If the private school or charter school had a document certifying modern workforce training to the student (with the ability to test to confirm, and retrain at no cost to the business if the skills are actually below what is certified), I would be pretty damn impressed. If such a thing exists for private or charter schools, it is well hidden and very scarce. Until then, why would a business pay a premium for a person who received primary school education at a private or charter school? And if public school is good enough, how can change be expected to happen?Dan:> ...I think far too many people are getting pushed into college...Business do pay a premium for college educated students. Again, if there was a form of technical schooling (associate degree) that had some certifying/testing/retraining guarantees for work skills, businesses would be pretty damn impressed, and would hire those people above people with some college education. I would like to see such resumes.