Though the economy and education have long been topics of top concern to Americans, we haven’t worked to create strong linkages between the two. They are more like two castles with a large moat between them. Yet there is nothing more important we can do as a country than to build the world’s most effective educonomy — that is, seamlessly integrate our educational system, our employers, and our job creators. Unless we get education and the economy working together more effectively, America will relinquish its role as leader of the free world.
Over the past year, Gallup has conducted various studies looking at the linkages between education and long-term success in life and work. We’ve polled representative samples of the general population in America, parents of fifth- through 12th-graders, and business leaders. And we’ve interviewed teachers, superintendents, college presidents, principals, college graduates, young Americans aged 18-34, and students in grades five through 12. All told, we collected the voices of close to 1 million Americans on this subject in the past year alone. And what we’ve learned is alarming.