Educations matters in all its myriad forms! We know that as teachers and as administrators who support teachers. We know it is true for non-traditional adult students completing their degrees online, and we know it is true for the students in K-12 schools.
In a recent article in The New York Times, David Leonhardt reported how economists show that a good kindergarten teacher (a teacher who improves student learning) make a lasting difference in people’s lives – well into adulthood. Based on longitudinal research study in Tennessee called Project S.T.A.R (Student Teacher Achievement Ratio), the article reports:
Students who had learned much more in kindergarten were more likely to go to college than students with otherwise similar backgrounds. Students who learned more were also less likely to become single parents. As adults, they were more likely to be saving for retirement. Perhaps most striking, they were earning more. [Emphasis Added.]
All else equal, they were making about an extra $100 a year at age 27 for every percentile they had moved up the test-score distribution over the course of kindergarten. A student who went from average to the 60th percentile — a typical jump for a 5-year-old with a good teacher — could expect to make about $1,000 more a year at age 27 than a student who remained at the average. Over time, the effect seems to grow, too. (Project S.T.A.R.)
Some economists calculate the value that a great kindergarten creates as over $320,000 annually.