Musings on the Potential Counter-Cyclical Nature of Education

I’ve written recently about how incoming teacher SAT scores are on the rise, perhaps because of recession is pushing more people into teaching.

Here’s an interesting (to me) but probably not true theory: what if there’s an on-going causal relationship between the economy and the teacher labor force?

It might look something like this:

1. The economy drags.

2. Higher-quality candidates enter the classroom due to reduced opportunities in other sectors.

3. Children learn more because of these higher-quality teachers.

4. Better educated children eventually lead to a more productive workforce.

5. The economy hums.

6. Higher-quality human capital enters more lucrative professions instead of entering the teaching force.

7. Children learn less.

8. Under-educated children eventually lead to a less productive workforce.

9. The economy drags.

10. The cycle begins again.

I can think of numerous reasons (timing, size of effects etc.) why this might not be true.

And I’m sure some economist has put forth this cycle and a hundred others have proven it wrong.

But the cycle crossed my mind so I thought I’d share it. Such is the power of being a blogger.

Don’t worry, I’ll send out some sentences to ponder later today so you can get your fill of some more rigorous thinking.

2 thoughts on “Musings on the Potential Counter-Cyclical Nature of Education

  1. badgehs

    It would be interesting to know if the degree mix has changed. Studies of education master’s degrees show that those degrees offer students little, and can even reduce learning–unless the degree is subject-matter focused rather than ed-school focused. Surely this extends to bachelors to some measure?

    If we’re seeing higher SAT scores, are those from students who took an Ed degree? Or students who learned more math, science, engineering, art, history, music, economics or languages, in the pursuit of another career?


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