Study: U.S. School Funding Linked To Upward Mobility

Published: Monday, October 1, 2018 - 12:24pm
Updated: Wednesday, October 3, 2018 - 12:49pm
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In America, it’s supposed to be true that we can all achieve more than our parents — that if your parents finished high school, you can grow up to get a college degree, for example. It’s part of the story of the American dream.

In academia it’s called upward mobility, and it’s at the heart of a new study that looks at the generational impact of funding — or under-funding — our schools.

Lowell Taylor teaches economics at Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College, and his new research began with the census data from 1940. That year was the first time the Census Bureau tracked educational attainment levels.

He and a team of fellow researchers took that data and tracked it over time to see how this story of upward mobility has played out in recent American history.

They found that parents who are well educated tend to have children who grow up to also be well educated. And that the reverse is true — especially for those in certain parts of the country where schools were systemically underfunded.

The Show spoke with Taylor more about his work and what it means for the current educational funding debate that’s playing out across the country.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to include the final version of the paper below.

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