NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Want to Raise Incomes? Support School Choice

January 29, 2015

Groups across the country are calling for raising the minimum wage, but Diana Furchtgott-Roth, director of Economics21 at the Manhattan Institute, says they should be focused on another issue: school choice.

School choice, says Furchtgott-Roth, would be a much better way to raise wages, incomes and opportunity for low-income Americans, because it slashes dropout rates, improves academic achievement and ultimately leads to economic gains. For example:

  • Researchers from Harvard University and Columbia University determined that replacing a poor teacher with a merely average teacher would boost a student's lifetime earnings by $14,500.
  • A study from the Brookings Institution and Harvard University found that private school vouchers boosted college enrollment for black students by 24 percent.

Allowing students to attend the schools that work best for them is a better way to improve economic mobility than mandating that employers pay minimum wages. Rather than help low-income workers, minimum wage increases reduce employment and job prospects, especially for teenagers.

Source: Diana Furchtgott-Roth, "Minimum Wage Advocates Should Support School Choice," Economics21, January 27, 2015. 

 

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