Roadmap for the 21st Century: Education Choice

Published January 12, 2017

The Roadmap for the 21st Century Project is a collaboration of free-market experts nationwide reflecting their views on the major public policy choices facing the nation, particularly those affecting economic growth and prosperity.

This Roadmap paper describes how choice and competition improve the achievement of students who take advantage of choice opportunities – as well as those who remain in their assigned public schools.

The authors also document how education choice would improve economic prosperity for the nation as a whole and for individual states. They write:

If all American students and their parents were free to choose the school they believed would work best for them, [educational achievement gaps] could be closed. Nationwide, that would mean an increase in U.S. GDP of up to 17% to 30%, or $3.1 trillion to $5.2 trillion over 25 years, given the current level of U.S. GDP.

The Education Choice Roadmap paper offers a table showing state-by-state improvements in state GDP if education achievement gaps were closed.

Heartland Institute President Joseph Bast said of the study,

This new chapter of Roadmap for the 21st Century addresses a critical issue – the education of the next generation – and a major failure of the national government for the past four decades. Ever since President Jimmy Carter created the U.S. Department of Education as a campaign payback to teachers unions in 1979, the national government has usurped state authority, undermined parental responsibility, and squandered billions of taxpayer dollars. The Trump administration has the historic opportunity, and duty, to dramatically reduce the size and influence of that department and encourage and reward states that empower parents through education choice. I hope incoming secretary Betsy DeVos reads this paper and is moved to act swiftly and decisively to make American education great again