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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

The $1 trillion math error

Weak math skills could cost young workers as much as $1 trillion in the coming decades, warns a a new study. National test scores show an erosion in eighth-graders' math skills, writes Kevin Mahnken. That will lower their odds of success as adults.

"After controlling for the possible effects of race, gender and educational attainment of parents," researchers found that eighth-grade math scores correlate with "high school graduation, college enrollment, and life earnings from age 28," he writes. Girls in states with improving math scores are "less likely to become teen mothers, while boys were less likely to be arrested for violent crimes or institutionalized."

The Education Recovery Scorecard shows how much learning students lost in the pandemic years in 29 states and the District of Columbia.

John Bailey also looks at the costs to children of disrupted schooling: "The average U.S. elementary-school student lost more than half a school year of learning in math — and nearly a quarter of a school year in reading — during the pandemic."

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