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Closing the Opportunity GapWhat America Must Do to Give Every Child an Even Chance$
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Prudence L. Carter and Kevin G. Welner

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199982981

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.001.0001

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The Cumulative Costs of the Opportunity Gap

The Cumulative Costs of the Opportunity Gap

Chapter:
(p.195) 14 The Cumulative Costs of the Opportunity Gap
Source:
Closing the Opportunity Gap
Author(s):

Clive Belfield

Henry M. Levin

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199982981.003.0014

Economists Clive Belfield and Hank Levin explore the overall costs of the cumulative opportunity gap. They examine the opportunity gap in terms of diminished lifetime opportunities for employment and income, as well as the social costs of having an undereducated workforce when students do not complete high school or beyond. They estimate that the economic benefit of closing the opportunity gap by just one-third would result in $50 billion in fiscal savings and $200 billion in savings from a societal perspective—by, for example, lowering rates of crime and incarceration. By point of comparison, they note, total taxpayer spending on K-12 education, including national, state, and local expenditures, is approximately $570 billion. Closing the opportunity gap is not simply a matter of equity and of adhering to core American values, Belfield and Levin argue; it also implicates our economic health.

Keywords:   Unemployment, poverty, income, economic costs, educated workforce, undereducation

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