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ERIC Number: ED535640
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Nov
Pages: 23
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
The Middle Class Is Key to a Better-Educated Nation: A Stronger Middle Class Is Associated with Better Educational Outcomes
Madland, David; Bunker, Nick
Center for American Progress
Education is key to America's economic success as technological change and global competition increase exponentially. Unfortunately, where once the nation was atop the world academically, today American students rank in the middle of the pack. Not surprisingly, business leaders and the American public are concerned about the quality of American education. There are myriad proposals about how to improve the U.S. education system. Yet a critical but often overlooked reason for the poor educational achievement is the decline of the American middle class over the past four decades. To quantify the impact of the middle class on educational achievement, the authors examined math scores in all 50 states between 2003, the first year data on all states are available, and 2009, the most recent year complete data are available. They found that a weaker middle class is associated with significantly lower levels of math performance. Their results indicate that a stronger middle class is associated with higher test scores, separate and above any effects of poverty, overall income levels, and the percentage of non-English speakers. In short, the "middle-classness" of a state directly influences its educational achievement. In the pages that follow, the authors will present the array of academic research on this topic that supports the premise of their paper, and then detail the school and nonschool functions that a strong middle class supports in the education system and society. They turn next in the paper to the specific results of their analysis, which find that a stronger American middle class is associated with higher levels of academic achievement. Appended are: (1) Data; and (2) Models. (Contains 2 figures and 51 endnotes.)
Center for American Progress. 1333 H Street NW 10th Floor, Washington, DC 20005. Tel: 202-682-1611; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center for American Progress