A dramatic improvement in student achievement is a goal near the top of the list for Economic Growth DC. A 100% high school graduation rate is an aggressive goal, but it’s the only result that’s acceptable. Our public education system needs to produce 18 year old’s who are prepared to attend college, prepared for a technical school, prepared for a career in the military, or prepared to work a living wage job. Anything else is letting all of us down. Our current graduation rate is about 55%. That means 45% of the young people we produce in the District are more likely to be unemployed and underemployed and less likely to earn a living wage. A living wage job is what makes a person a consumer. And consumers drive economic activity through their consumption. So, no diploma most likely means no job, no money and no consumption. For us, education is clearly and directly an issue that effects economic growth.

The chairman of the DC City-Council’s education committee wants the international law firm of Hogan Lovells to perform $400,000 worth of research which would used to inform his decisions about education reform legislation. This strikes us as a perfectly reasonable use of public dollars, but for a reason that is not overly clear to us, Councilmember Catania wants private money to pay for the research. If this research paves the way for education reform legislation that will lead to serious improvements in student achievement, then we support it.