Commentary

Commentary

Two Leading Non-Profits Argue Education Does Reduce Inequality

by Jaime S. Fall
Vice President, Workforce and Talent Sustainability
HR Policy Foundation

Two of the nation's leading non-profits focused on improving education in America are pushing back hard on the argument that education doesn't reduce inequality. Dan Greenstein of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Jamie Merisotis of the Lumina Foundation call such arguments "nonsense" in an editorial titled, "Education Does Reduce Inequality" published April 10, 2015 in the Wall Street Journal, saying, "Education remains the chief American institution that promotes economic and social mobility for poor and disadvantaged citizens. It’s not an evasion; it’s the direct answer to the question of what the nation needs to improve its talent pool and improve economic opportunity and social equality." This editorial is a strong and welcome rebuttal to false arguments by economic leaders such as former Treasury secretary Larry Summers and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.  As Mr. Greenstein and Merisotis point out, a good education is the best path out of poverty because, "It balances our values of equal opportunity and individual responsibility. The answer is not in dismissing education, but making it more equitable..." While the authors acknowledge that a college degree in and of itself will not solve all economic problems, they conclude, "...education is the clearest and best way to develop talent and build the skills so important to our country’s economic and social well-being. Naysayers go too far when they threaten the only common ground that remains in the American political dialogue. Attacking education in an attempt to provide legitimacy to more controversial reforms will only divide us further."