Poor academic achievement on multiple levels -- including dismal showings among middle class students in America compared to other countries -- has led the United States to lose hundreds of billions of dollars in its gross domestic product, according to a report released by McKinsey & Company today.
The report makes a case for the devastating economic impact of not improving the nation's schools. Its data show that achievement gaps have imposed "the economic equivalent of a permanent deep recession." The report does not offer specific recommendations for getting out of this ditch, other than to look more closely at the few school systems that are making progress and adopt their practices.
The way out was left to a discussion with education and civil rights leaders at the formal unveiling of the report at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., today. Disappointingly, although the Rev. Al Sharpton voiced strong applause lines about the need for change, there was no specific mention of what might be achieved by offering better early childhood education opportunities to young children and tying those early experiences to what is taught in elementary schools.