Free Exchange: Knowledge for Earnings’ Sake
Researchers have published two studies indicating that good teachers have a far greater influence on students than just their test scores. Good teachers raise their students’ earning potential.
There are other effects, as well.
Unsurprisingly, exposure to better teachers is associated with an increased probability of attending university and, among pupils who go on to university, with attendance at better ones, as well as with higher earnings. Somewhat more unexpectedly, good teachers also seem to reduce odds of teenage pregnancy and raise participation in retirement-savings plans. Effects seem to be stronger for girls than for boys, and English teachers have a longer-lasting influence on their pupils’ futures than maths teachers.
I suspect the greater influence of English teachers results from the wider use of reading and writing skills than math skills in most jobs, rather than the intrinsic usefulness of either subject.