What is the one thing that can assure higher student achievement and better schools?

Ray Strabeck, a retired school superintendent in Mississippi, has a simple answer in this piece in the Clarion Ledger:


Economics, pure and simple. Find me a good school, and nine times out of 10 there will also be found a flourishing economy in that school community.


Our plea that good schools bring good industries is a misnomer, a case of getting the cart before the horse. Make sure that parents have good jobs, that small businesses are flourishing in the neighborhood and that people take pride in where they live and one of the unfailing outcomes is good schools.


If we would spend the money currently being spent on Common Core on economic development and sustain that kind of effort for, say, four or five years, we would soon see “good” schools emerging. And by such a term, I mean schools where students excel in cognitive learning as well as athletics, arts, vocational training and wholesome attitudes about citizenship and responsibility to others…


We need more highways, more large airports, more industries — all of which would help Mississippians have more good-paying jobs. Then we’d soon have those better schools we want for our students.