National Review / Digital
Closing the Achievement Gap
It will require more than reining in teachers’ unions


There is debate among economists regarding whether immigration of less-skilled Hispanics has depressed the wages of less-skilled native-born American workers. But the more important economic impact of this demographic shift is its effect on the overall skill profile of the U.S. work force. Though poorer than native-born Americans, Hispanic immigrants are far richer than they would have been in Latin America. Thus the impact of their immigration on global income has been positive. But if the achievement gap did not exist, this increase in Hispanics’ living standards would be even larger, and American per capita GDP growth would be higher.

It is very difficult to predict the trajectory of future economic growth. We can, however, offer crude estimates by drawing on what we know about the relationship between the skill level of workers and overall economic growth. Per capita GDP growth has already been dampened by the combination of an increasing Hispanic population share and a persistent ethnic gap in average income. In the coming four decades, the effect of demographic change is expected to be even more dramatic.

November 14, 2011    |     Volume LXIII, No. 21

Books, Arts & Manners
  • Anthony Daniels reviews After America: Get Ready for Armageddon, by Mark Steyn.
  • Steven F. Hayward reviews Collision Course: Ronald Reagan, the Air Traffic Controllers, and the Strike that Changed America, by Joseph A. McCartin.
  • David Pryce-Jones reviews Jerusalem: The Biography, by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
  • Stephen Smith reviews Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America, by Richard White.
  • Ross Douthat reviews The Way.
  • Richard Brookhiser turns the page.
The Long View  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Athwart  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Poetry  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  
Happy Warrior  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .