Friday, August 6, 2004


Georgia Partnership, Chamber of Commerce Join to Tell Important Story

When many people think about public education they are often focused on individual students or school performance and achievement. But there is another critical area often overlooked. The economic prosperity of Georgia is inextricably linked to the state's education system.

The Georgia Partnership for Excellence in Education and the Georgia Chamber of Commerce teamed up earlier this year to offer 12 regional presentations highlighting the "Economics of Education." These seminars were presented to local business leaders, educators, government decision makers and interested citizens.

Dr. Stephen Dolinger, the Georgia Partnership's president and key presenter at the sessions, explained that when audiences see the facts they are both surprised and alarmed at how economics and education go hand-in-hand. "Academic achievement, or non-achievement as the case may be, does impact the state's economy and ability to attract business," he said.

As an example, the presentation looks at Georgia's high school graduation rate of approximately 60 percent. Dolinger points out that it is hard for any state to reach its greatest potential if nearly half its children are not completing high school.

Using U.S. Census Bureau figures, the "Economics of Education" presentations explain that in 2001, non-graduates earned $9,000 per year less than high school grads and $30,500 less than college grads. The annual income for non-high school graduates is $19,434. Compare that to high school grads at $28,343 and four-year college graduates at $49,985.

How does this impact our communities and state? Here are some facts:

* Higher per capita income would lead to a higher demand for goods and services produced or offered in the community;
* Higher demand in the retail market leads to higher demand in the wholesale market.

The effect is an increase in the region's economy which fuels prosperity.

As George Israel, president of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce said, "The business community understands that a strong education system is simply the best way to ensure continued economic growth and vitality for the state."

Be sure to watch the special airing of The Economics of Education, a taping of one of the 12 presentations made across the state to learn more about the impact education has on the state economy. It will air on Channel 430 at INSERT TIME. For more information about the Georgia Partnership and its economics initiatives, contact Bill Maddox at 404-223-2464 or