You’ve gotta see this!

If you’ve ever wondered why two economic organizations – the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce – launched the A for Arizona education initiative to increase education quality, this quote from the linked report reveals the answer:

If all states improved their schools to the point where average student achievement matched that of the top state, Minnesota, the gains in GDP would allow even the most cash-strapped state to meet current demands for public services while maintaining a balanced budget.

States that boost student academic achievement stand to gain serious economic returns. And what is “economic return”? Economic return is the combined wealth of the state, which is based on the wealth of its citizens, which is driven by the ability of an individual to be paid for meaningful work. Strong economics reflect an engaged, employed, and contributing citizenry.

And the ability to engage in life sustaining work is a direct result of quality education. When the authors of this study take the long view, they find that if all states offered Minnesota’s average level of education quality, economic gains over 80 years would be $76 trillion, with Arizona alone standing to gain $1.6 trillion.

The report goes on to look at several other scenarios, including states improving to the regional best and the NAEP basic achievement level. The bottom line is Arizona sees sizable economic gains as a result of improved student performance, regardless of how it is measured.

Seeing every Arizona student in a school where they can reach the highest level of achievement is the very mission of A for Arizona, which is why we take this study as third party validation that our work is worth a trillion dollars! Or so.

Our strongest motivation is that all Arizona students realize their potential. That focus turns out to be the right thing for them, and a fabulous thing for Arizona’s economic viability.

In the authors’ words, “Simply put, future economic growth is directly related to the cognitive skills of today’s students.”

Arizona’s business community stands behind A for Arizona because of an essential reality for students and for Arizona’s economy: It pays to embrace school quality.