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Fall Symposium at Teachers College to Focus on Costs of Inadequate Education

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Hank Levin

"Many students in the U.S. do not benefit from an education adequate to meet the requirements for full participation in American society," says Symposium chair Henry Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, and Director of the national Center for the Study of Privatization in Education.

Leading Education Economists Will Assemble for Inaugural Event Hosted by Campaign for Educational Equity

A gathering of the nation's leading education economists will present new findings this fall on "The Social Costs of Inadequate Education," the first in an annual series of symposia that will be conducted by the Teachers College Campaign for Educational Equity

The event - to be held at Columbia University's Alfred Lerner Hall on October 24th and 25th, 2005 -- is intended to provide an economic rationale for closing the nation's educational achievement gap.  

"Many students in the U.S. do not benefit from an education adequate to meet the requirements for full participation in American society," says Symposium chair Henry Levin, William H. Kilpatrick Professor of Economics and Education at Teachers College, and Director of the national Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. "In addition to the handicaps that this failure imposes on these students when they reach adulthood, there are also high costs to society. Poorly educated adults contribute to a loss of national income, productivity and tax revenues, as well as to the public costs of increased crime, homelessness, impaired health, and public assistance. These costs are frequently ignored because of the difficulties in accounting for them."

Papers presented at the symposium will "document existing educational inequities and estimate returns to society from improving educational equity and reducing inadequate education," Levin says. "Overall they will suggest and document that the gains in social benefits from adequate education - especially for the poor and key minorities - will vastly exceed the costs of improvement."

In addition to Levin, who has conducted policy analyses for the U.S. Senate and individual state governments, presenters at the Symposium include:

  • Thomas Bailey of Teachers College, an expert on community colleges;
  • Ronald Ferguson of Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, an authority on racial dimensions of the achievement gap;
  • Jane Junn, a political scientist at Rutgers University who has written widely on political participation and elections in the U.S.;
  • Peter Muennig of Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, who has explored the impact of educational disparities on health;
  • Enrico Moretti of the University of California at Berkeley, who has investigated the impact of education on crime and violence;
  • Richard Rothstein, Visiting Professor at Teachers College and Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute, who has written on class origins of the achievement gap.

They will discuss inadequate education in terms of:

  • Income and Tax Returns
  • Implications for Future Workforce
  • Health Status and Social Costs
  • Crime and Costs of Criminal Justice
  • Welfare, Homelessness and Costs of Public Assistance
  • Changing Demography and Intergenerational Transmission of Poverty
  • Political and Citizenship Participation
  • Potential Educational and Social Interventions and Consequences
  • Detailed Results for Early Childhood Interventions

Teachers College is the largest graduate school of education in the nation. Teachers College is affiliated with Columbia University, but it is legally and financially independent. The editors of U.S. News and World Report have ranked Teachers College as one of the leading graduate schools of education in the country.

Teachers College is dedicated to promoting equity and excellence in education and overcoming the gap in educational access and achievement between the most and least advantaged groups in this country. Through programs of teaching, research, and service, the College draws upon the expertise of a diverse community of faculty in education, psychology and health, as well as students and staff from across the country and around the world.

The Campaign for Educational Equity is the public voice, research and action arm of Teachers College, dedicated to promoting equity through improved policy and practice.

Educational equity - a moral imperative for the 21st century

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