Those who advocate for greater investment in education often make the economic argument: more education leads to higher wages and is critical for financial stability and independence. They're right. Robust evidence supports the view that higher levels of educational attainment are linked to higher incomes, less unemployment, less poverty, and less reliance on public assistance.
But education is about more than just better jobs and bigger paychecks, important though they are in making families and individuals more financially stable. More education is also linked to better physical and mental health, longer lives, fewer crimes, less incarceration, more voting, greater tolerance, and brighter prospects for the next generation. More education is good for individuals who stay in school to earn their high school degree or who enter and graduate college, but it is also good for all of us, paying big dividends in the form of increased civic engagement, greater neighborhood safety, and a healthy, vibrant democracy.
This report is a companion piece to the online Common Good ForecasterTM, a joint product of United Way and the American Human Development Project. It takes a closer look at the ten indicators featured on the Forecaster and makes the case for why education matters to each of these critical areas. The Common Good ForecasterTM is an online tool available at www.measureofamerica.org/forecaster and www.liveunited.org/forecaster.