By Lina Karaoglanova
As the war between heartless economists and weepy do-gooders rages on, it’s always refreshing to stumble upon something of actual and significant substance that ADDS to the debate. Since 2005 the Upjohn Institute, Western Michigan University’s Evaluation Center and the Midwest Educational Reform Consortium have been conducting the Kalamazoo Promise, a long-term community and education reinvestment experiment. This experiment may someday give those pesky economists and emotional non-profit folks some hard evidence as to whether there really is a high return on education investment that has spill-over benefits for a community.
The project gives a full college scholarship to potentially all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools in Michigan, indefinitely! Their progress will be tracked and recorded. It’s every econometrician’s dream. Though this experiment will take many years to bear fruit, the possibilities for application may be endless. We may finally be able to extensively test not only whether these investments will increase life-time incomes for students, but also whether these investments in education can spur economic development in the community.
For all the eager international development, education and community development folks jumping in their chairs uncontrollably, take a visit.