This academic year, the better part of $1 trillion will be spent on education in the United States. That’s an awful lot of spending, approaching 10 percent of the overall economy. But what exactly is the return on all of that money?
While the costs are fairly simple to calculate, the benefits of education are harder to sum up.
Much of what a nation wants from its schools has nothing to do with money. Consider the social and cultural benefits, for instance: making friends, learning social rules and norms and understanding civic roles.
But some of the most sought-after benefits from education are economic. Specialized knowledge and technical skills, for example, lead to higher incomes, greater productivity and generation of valuable ideas.