Ability and Effort, Not Schools, Determine Success
April 7, 2000
Achievers with abilities and good minds are prone to greater success than their less mentally endowed peers -- regardless of which schools they attend -- according to research papers published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Among the findings in the NBER working papers:
- Children who do poorly in bad schools tend also to do poorly in schools with abundant resources -- so greater spending has done nothing to reduce income variation among workers.
- School dropouts with significant cognitive skills earn quite large returns in their careers compared to those of lesser intelligence -- whether they be male, female, white or nonwhite .
- Even modest differences in students' SAT scores are associated with measurably higher lifetime incomes -- regardless of whether they attended an elite Ivy League school or a less prestigious institution.
Source: Dan Seligman, "The Big Lie," Forbes, April 17, 2000; NBER Working Papers 7101, 7322 and 7450, National Bureau of Economic Research.
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