The worldwide school closures in early 2020 led to losses in learning that will not easily be made up for even if schools quickly return to their prior performance levels. While the precise learning losses are not yet known, existing research suggests that the students in grades 1-12 affected by the closures might expect some 3 percent lower income over their entire lifetimes. These learning losses will have lasting economic impacts both on the affected students and on each nation unless they are effectively remediated.

Make schools better than they were by relying more on the best teachers. This twin crisis of Covid-19 and of societal recognition of deep-seated inequities must be directed toward essential school improvement. The single most important way to ensure that everybody can participate in the modern economy is to ensure that they have the skills that are demanded by the economy.

Technology-driven economic disruption has been a feature of modern economies since the early days of the Industrial Revolution. Technological advances in the economy present both challenges for firms and workers tied to outmoded production methods and great opportunities for those able to adapt. There is, however, reason to believe that the current wave of technological disruption may differ qualitatively from past waves in both the scope and speed of change.

The nation is stuck with a bad equilibrium in terms of teacher salaries: salaries are insufficient to attract new teachers who can fuel improved schools and yet they are not even high enough to satisfy current teachers. One result has been uncompromising rhetoric replacing viable solutions, and political responses that leave us in a worse position. The Chicago teachers’ strike continued the strife that played out last year from West Virginia to Los Angeles.

While some countries such as Germany are avid consumers of PISA data, others such as the U.S. are much less concerned about PISA scores. In most cases, reactions to PISA scores appear largely based on notions of national pride, in where the country falls in the league tables of results. But the scores tell us much more.

On the eve of the 2015 United Nations conference on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), one of us (Eric Hanushek) wrote an article in Foreign Affairs giving the Conference some unsolicited advice. The article, “Teach the World,” urged that the global education goal, this time, focus on the right outcome.

Education policy in the U.S. is in transition. For the past 15 years, federal policy epitomized by the No Child Left Behind accountability laws drove much of the discussion. But in December 2015 the new federal law (Every Student Succeeds Act, or ESSA) ushered in a new era of state-centered policies. The policy directions of states will have a great impact on the future of each state’s economic development.

In September 2015, the United Nations adopted an aggressive development agenda that included 17 separateSustainable Development Goals (SDGs) designed to guide investment and development over the next 15 years. Two of these assume particular importance because they will determine whether or not the other 15 can be achieved. Without economic growth that expands the size of the pie, there is little hope of reaching the desirable outcomes in terms of health, poverty, nutrition, and inclusion in improvements.

This blog entry is part of a debate over “Boosting Educational Attainment and Adult Earnings,” by C. Kirabo Jackson, Rucker C. Johnson and Claudia Persico, a study which was published in the Fall 2015 issue of Education Next. Eric Hanushek first critiqued the study in “Money Matters After All?” published July 17, 2015 on the Ed Next blog. The authors of the study responded in a blog entry, “Money Does Matter After All,” also published on July 17, 2015 on the Ed Next blog. What appears below is a response to “Money Does Matter After All.”

Considerable prior research has failed to find a consistent relationship between school spending and student performance, making skepticism about such a relationship the conventional wisdom. Given that skepticism, new studies that purport to find a systematic relationship between school spending and student performance get disproportionate attention.