Education Can Boost GDP Even More Than We Thought

Policymakers and the public often talk about how important education is for the economy, saying that schooling promotes higher incomes, better jobs, and more growth. Last month, for instance, Vice President Joe Biden argued that college degrees are crucial to national prosperity. “Six in 10 jobs will require some kind of education beyond high school,” Biden said at an event in Denver. “Twelve years is not enough.” But how much does education really matter when it comes to the economy? A new research paper gives some key insight into this question, and it turns out schooling might have a bigger … Read More

Center for American Progress Announces New Initiative on the Science of Learning

I helped launch a science of learning effort at the Center for American Progress. Here’s the press release: Washington, D.C. — Today, the Center for American Progress announced a new initiative to promote the science of learning, aimed at examining ways to apply the new research on learning to education policy. CAP Senior Fellow Ulrich Boser is the founding director of the effort. “This project aims to put the learning sciences at the forefront of school reform, showing how the nation can dramatically improve how teachers teach and students learn,” said Boser. “This effort will bring much-needed attention to the … Read More

How Deep Processing Shapes Learning

When it comes to learning, people often describe the mind as a computer. But that’s not quite right because the analogy makes it seem like our brains are robotic in their ability to absorb information, that data enters the brain and then automatically becomes stashed away in a mental hard drive. But in order to learn, the brain needs to process information deeply, and studies show that we can’t gain any sort of new skill or expertise without really engaging in an idea or skill or bit of knowledge. “You can be motivated to learn but if you use a … Read More

Schools Expect Too Much of Working Parents

While balancing work and family life is never a simple task, it often seems that public schools add to the problem. A few weeks ago, for instance, the school nurse rang me up: My 8-year-old daughter had a headache. Could I come by the school with some Tylenol? Due to school policy the school nurse couldn’t administer one of the most widely used, over-the-counter drugs in the world—meaning I needed to table my work and visit the school to help give my daughter a tablespoon of basic medicine. The week before that, our school closed its doors for the day … Read More

“The Power of the Pygmalion Effect”

I worked together with my colleagues Megan Wilhelm and Robert Hanna on a report for the Center for American Progress called the Power of the Pygmalion Effect, which was released last week, and we found that what an educator believed a student could achieve turned out to be a deeply strong predicator of what that student did actually achieve. The study was featured in The Root and Huffington Post. Here is our major finding. I bolded the text: All else equal, 10th grade students who had teachers with higher expectations were more than three times more likely to graduate from college than students who had teachers with … Read More