Center for American Progress

Middle-Class Societies Invest More in Public Education

Middle-Class Societies Invest More in Public Education

A Stronger Middle Class Is Associated with Higher Levels of Spending on Education

David Madland and Nick Bunker argue that strengthening our middle class will be good for our educational system and for our economy.

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See also: The Middle Class Is Key to a Better-Educated Nation by David Madland and Nick Bunker

America’s economic future depends in large part on the quality of our nation’s public education. Education increases productivity, sparks innovation, and boosts our economic competitiveness. In a globally competitive environment, we can’t afford to have a poorly educated workforce.

To boast a world-class public education system requires investments. Alas, we have not invested as much as needed to stay ahead of our international competitors, and the results are clear: Fifteen countries now have higher college graduation rates than us, and our average test scores are lower than those of not just peer countries but also less wealthy places such as Slovenia and Poland.

Not surprisingly, the American public thinks we should be making greater investments in education, with polls showing strong and growing support for increased spending. Seventy-two percent of Americans support spending more on education today, up from 65 percent in 1985. So why have we not been making the investments in education that the public desires and the economy demands?

Read the full report (CAP Action)

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David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project

Nick Bunker

Research Associate

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