The Economic Payoff to Investing in Educational Justice
Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research
The quest for educational equity is a moral imperative for a society in which education is a crucial determinant of life chances. Yet whether there is an economic return to the taxpayer for investing in educational justice is often not considered. It is possible that the economic benefits of reducing inadequate education exceed the costs, returning a healthy dividend to the taxpayer. This article addresses a four-decade quest to ascertain the fiscal consequences of investing in effective approaches to reduce inadequate education in the United States. It uses economic analysis to calculate both the costs of effective strategies to raise high school graduation rates and their benefits to the taxpayer in higher tax revenues and reduced costs of criminal justice, public health, and public assistance. The results suggest that improving educational justice provides substantial returns to taxpayers that exceed the costs.