Many economists have conducted studies on the role of public schools in driving a community's economic prosperity. The data show that the quality of our schools help make us more economically competitive: excellent schools spur local entrepreneurship and attract state, regional, and national businesses; they lead to higher wages in the community, which in turn support existing business enterprises; and they encourage our brightest and most motivated young men and women to return to the area after college, contributing to social stability and tax base growth. And this list doesn't even include their positive impact on our property values, which I've written about elsewhere.
In short, schools are one of the best possible economic investments our community can make. Public education provides economic benefits to everyone in the community, not just students.
Want more specific facts and figures? An easy to understand summary of this research is available in a report by Jonathan Weiss of George Washington University, "Public Schools and Economic Development: What the Research Shows."
Dr. Gerald Gordon covers some of the same ground in the short video below. Dr. Gordon is the CEO of the Economic Development Authority in Fairfax County VA, and author of 12 books and dozens of articles on economic development and management.