Center for Economics and the Environment: Policy Series
Between 1970 and 2007, Missouri’s growth in income per capita was 41st in the nation. This dismal outcome is largely a function of its educational system. Its schools have not been competitive, either among the U.S. states or internationally. Lifting the quality of schools will by the historical evidence presented here produce large long-run gains for Missouri’s economy. Even though many youth have in the past migrated to other parts of the country, the strength of the Missouri economy will continue to rest mainly on those current students who will become the backbone of the future labor force. Improving the quality of schools is a difficult task that demands policy attention. Simply increasing funding for schools, one oft-proposed solution, is unlikely to lead to increased academic performance unless more attention is given to how money is spent. The key to improvement lies in the quality of the teachers and leaders in the schools. Salaries and incentives for these personnel have not been directly related to student performance. If improvements are to be realized, existing incentives must be changed.
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Hanushek, Eric A., "Missouri's Economic Future Lies with School Reform" (2018). Center for Applied Economics. 14.