[AAACE-NLA] FW: [aaace-nla] Heckman and Adult Education
hbeder at rci.rutgers.edu
Thu Mar 2 10:56:34 EST 2006
I think the individual returns to adult literacy are well
documented. A report by Andy Sum using NALS data does this well:
However, the returns to the general economy are not well documented
at all. To demonstrate that adult literacy is a public good, you
would have to be able to make this second argument and that in my
view is problematic. In NJ about 1/2 the work force works in the
sector that requires no skills or rudimentary on the job training and
that is where most low literates end up. There are jobs; unemployment
in this sector is about 4.9%. These folks serve the folks that have
skills and their lack of skills is the justification for low pay. ..
so I can afford to have my lawn cut and I can buy underwear 3 for 5$
at Target. Make them literate and you have to pay them more. So
what if they are doomed to the working poor? Besides, from a
economic perspective we can't do much about the situation because it
is the result of a global economy over which we have no control. So
from a economic perspective, everything is fine. Low literates work
in a necessary sector of the economy and that sector is functioning
well. Bottom line.... An economic argument that focuses of returns
to the greater economy supports the status quo. That is why, in my
opinion, we must argue from a social justice perspective and we must
do so convincingly. No wonder they call economics the dismal science
[unless of course you are a corporate CEO]
At 10:13 AM 3/2/2006, you wrote:
>Hi Hal et al.,
>I understand that argument. But surely we'd need to be able to
>demonstrate that there is "immediate" return to adult literacy. This
>would depend on the starting level of the learner, the job market,
>their income etc.-- a set of internal factors as well as the direct and
>indirect returns. I'm pretty uncomfortable with this line of argument
>as it would tend to devalue ABE that didn't lead to employment.
>More subtly it seems to me that you also run into issues of whether
>education is a public or private good, and the rather nasty possibility
>that children's education is a public good and adult education a
>private good, which once more changes the grounds for discussion.
>Anyway, my point was that I was genuinely curious to know if the
>returns to adult education had ever been well investigated. I've never
>found anything, but suggestions would be welcome!
>On Thursday, Mar 2, 2006, at 13:00 Europe/London, Hal Beder wrote:
> > We really don't need data. The economic benefits to education do not
> > occur until the educated join the work force. For a five year old,
> > this would be 13-15 years. But for adults who are already employed,
> > or ready to be employed, we reap the benefits immediately because
> > they are already part of the workforce.
> > At 07:05 PM 3/1/2006, you wrote:
> >> A brief message from Ralf St. Clair.
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Ralf St.Clair [mailto:ralf at selkie.ca]
> >> Sent: Wednesday, March 01, 2006 4:15 PM
> >> To: National Literacy Advocacy List sponsored by AAACE
> >> Subject: Re: [AAACE-NLA] [aaace-nla] Heckman and Adult Education
> >> Hi Hal (et al),
> >> Do we have data on this?
> >> Ralf
> >> On Wednesday, Mar 1, 2006, at 20:58 Europe/London, Hal Beder wrote:
> >>> If you educate an adult, the payoff is immediate. For early
> >>> childhood, it takes 15-20 years for an investment to accrue.
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