Miller Center

National Discussion and Debate Series
Education and the Economy

The rapid growth of China, India, Brazil and other emerging powers has dramatically altered the complexion of the global economy in recent years. At the same time, rising deficits, high trade imbalances, a declining dollar, and a lingering economic downturn have placed America's position within the global economy in peril-and have policymakers deliberating over the keys to America's economic future. One area often cited as critical to the nation's future economic strength is higher education, particularly that America must dramatically increase the number of college-educated citizens to remain a leading economic power.

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Education and the Economy

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Resolved: To remain a world class economic power, the U.S. workforce needs more college graduates

Paul Solman
Paul Solman has been a business, economics and occasional art correspondent for PBS NewsHour since 1985. He answers viewer questions on The Business Desk. He is also the presenter for and author of "Discovering Economics with Paul Solman," a series of videos distributed by McGraw-Hill. Solman is part of a national consortium to teach "Financial Literacy" to Americans at every educational level. His work has won various awards, including several Emmys, two Peabodys, and a Loeb award.

Margaret Spellings
Margaret Spellings, U.S. Secretary of Education from 2005 to 2009, is the President and CEO of Margaret Spellings and Company and a leading national expert in public policy. Spellings also serves as Senior Advisor to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Executive Vice President of the National Chamber Foundation, and Senior Advisor to the Boston Consulting Group. Her prior positions include White House Domestic Policy Advisor (2001-05) and Senior Advisor to Governor George W. Bush (1995-2000).

Richard Vedder
Richard Vedder is the Director of the Center for College Affordability and Productivity--an independent higher education think tank in Washington, DC. He is also Distinguished Professor of Economics at Ohio University and an adjunct scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. Vedder served on the Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education and has authored eight books, including Going Broke By Degree: Why College Costs Too Much. Vedder's upcoming book is tentatively titled Universities and Human Welfare.

Michael Lomax
Michael Lomax is the President and CEO of the United Negro College Fund-the nation's largest and most effective minority education organization. Immediately before joining UNCF, he served seven years as President of Dillard University in New Orleans. He taught literature at Morehouse and Spelman Colleges and the University of Georgia. He served as the first head of the Atlanta Bureau of Cultural Affairs and was elected to the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, serving as its first African-American chair.

George Leef
George Leef is Director of Research at the John William Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in Raleigh, NC. He was previously on the faculty of Northwood University and a policy adviser in the Michigan Senate. Since 1996, he has served as book review editor of the Foundation for Economic Education's magazine, The Freeman. Leef is the author of Free Choice for Workers: A History of the Right to Work Movement, and editor of Educating Teachers: The Best Minds Speak Out.

Research and Scholarship

White Paper

Does the U.S. Need More College Graduates to Remain a World Class Economic Power?

Dr. William Zumeta, University of Washington

The world is "getting smaller," that is, we live in an interconnected, interdependent, global society and economy that is increasingly dependent upon knowledge driven technology and innovation. Change—technological, economic and social—seems to occur ever more rapidly. Read more


Current Debates in Higher Education

David Breneman

Do we have enough college graduates to remain a world class economic power? Is the college business model broken? David W. Breneman, a University Professor and the Newton & Rita Meyers Professor in the Economics of Education, served as Dean of the Curry School of Education from 1995 to 2007, and as Director of the Public Policy Program at the Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy. He presented a Miller Center Forum on February 22, 2010. Click to watch

Public Conferences

Examining the National Purposes of American Higher Education: A Leadership Approach To Policy Reform

June 9, 2008, Miller Center of Public Affairs

On June 9, 2008, the Miller Center joined with the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges to examine the challenges facing America's higher education system. Participants included elected leaders, trustees, state higher education and college executives, and Virginia Governor Tim Kaine. Read more

Miller Center Fellows

Ringing the Bell for K-12 Teacher Tenure Reform

Patrick McGuinn, Drew University and Institute for Advanced Study, February 2010

In February 2010, the Center for American Progress released a report written by former Miller Center Fellow Patrick McGuinn on the issue of teacher tenure reform. McGuinn's study gives an overview and history of teacher tenure, analyzes past and current reform efforts, and offers a set of policy recommendations. Read more

Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive

Resources on Higher Education Policy

The Miller Center's Scripps Library and Multimedia Archive is collecting materials on U.S. Public Policy. Below are links to resources on higher education policy.