2 “US Education Spending History from 1900,” USGovernmentSpending.com, http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/education_spending.
3 Motoko Rich, “As Graduation Rates Rise, Experts Fear Diplomas Come Up Short,” New York Times, Dec. 26, 2015. See also Theresa Harrington, “U.S. Math Scores Decline on International Test of 15-Year-Olds,” EdSource, Dec. 6, 2016, https://edsource.org/2016/u-s-math-scores-decline-on-international-test-of-15-year-olds/573768.
4 In Quebec, high school graduation also went up from 72 percent to 79 percent between 2002 and 2008. Apparently, schools gave out graduation diplomas when students were allowed to replace many usual high-school credits with “sociovocational integration training.”
5 Juan Perez Jr. and Kyle Bentle, “Chicago Public Schools Touts Improved Graduation Rate,” Chicago Tribune, Sept. 5, 2016. The article notes that the practice is now being revised.
6 Terrence Stutz and Holly K. Hacker, “Critics Scrutinize Texas’ Unusual Dropout Rates,” Dallas Morning News, Aug. 29, 2015.
7 Anya Kamenetz, “High School Graduation Rates: The Good, the Bad and the Ambiguous,” NPR, June 9, 2015.
8 Dan Seligman, “The Story They All Got Wrong,” Forbes, Nov. 25, 2002, presents detailed data.
9 See M. D. Fitzpatrick, “Starting School at Four,” Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research Discussion Paper no. 08-05, Dec. 2008. There were two small experiments with about 100 kids in which results were better than the Georgia one. But those experiments cost $16,000 to $41,000 per child, per year—impossible to replicate.
10 “Head Start for All,” Wall Street Journal, Feb. 27, 2013.
11 “Few Women Run the Nation’s School Districts. Why?,” PBS News Hour, Dec. 30, 2016.
12 See Anna Louie Sussman, “‘Boomerang’ Millennials Get Cozy at Home,” Real Time Economics (blog), Wall Street Journal, July 29, 2015.
13 Math, engineering, and similar hard sciences deserve subsidies for military and strategic reasons, in particular, though I have never encountered any young adult who took such courses just because they were subsidized.
14 This sheds some additional light on statistical studies of the last few decades showing that people in Western countries who stay longer in schools or go to universities secure higher incomes. As noted, the erroneous inference has been that longer education is necessarily the path to greater income and social mobility. But these studies were done during a period that coincided with the expansion of government bureaucracies, which employed graduates knowing little but jargon. Until the late 1980s, the resulting compounding costs were covered, in part, by the flow of capital and talent to U.S. shores from communist countries, and the domestic talent had nowhere to go, and could be more easily taxed.
15 One or two years of additional, compounding earnings could do a lot to shore up entitlement programs, with a more positive impact than requiring people 65 and older to stay in the labor force longer: compounding would start earlier.
16 Some writing about education suggest that it is cheaper to keep young adults at colleges and universities rather than on the dole. Why that is the alternative, though, they do not explain.
17 See Reuven Brenner, “Making Sense out of Nonsense,” in Educating Economists: The Teagle Discussion on Re-evaluating the Undergraduate Economics Major, ed. David Colander and KimMarie McGoldrick (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992). See also Reuven Brenner, “Extracting Sunbeams out of Cucumbers,” in The Force of Finance: Triumph of the Capital Markets (New York: Texere, 2002).