Oppsiktsvekkende av Marte Gerhardsen om utdanning og ulikhet

  • 29.05.2017 kl.19:25 i Blogg

I VG i dag skriver Marte Gerhardsen i tankesmien Agenda om økonomisk ulikhet.

Her går hun til angrep på statsminister Erna Solberg, fordi Solberg "forsøker å få debatten til å handle om fraværsgrenser og etterutdanning av lærere" og "tidlig innsats" i barnehagen og skolen. Dette blir, ifølge Gerhardsen, "litt for enkelt". Gerhardsen har "fulgt den internasjonale debatten om ulikhet nøye gjennom mange år, og det er ingen andre enn Høyre i Norge som har nevnt at økende ulikhet kan skyldes at lærerne i OECD-området ikke har fått tilstrekkelig etterutdanning." Ifølge Gerhardsen er det tre (andre) hovedgrunner til at vi i Norge har mindre ulikhet enn de fleste andre land, nemlig lave lønnsforskjeller, en omfattende velferdsstat og et omfordelende skattesystem.

Dette er oppsiktsvekkende tale fra en som har vært opptatt av ulikhet så lenge og fulgt debatten så nøye.

Det er en selvfølge at lønnsforskjeller, velferdsstaten og skattesystemet avgjør nivået på ulikhet i inntekt, da det er disse tre elementene som fastsetter inntektsfordelingen. Men det er likevel helt feil å underslå betydningen av utdanning og arbeid på ulikheten. God utdanning i hele befolkningen er en av hovedgrunnene til at vi kan opprettholde lave lønnsforskjeller. Vår omfordelende velferdsstat er helt avhengig av en høy arbeidsdeltakelse, som igjen avhenger av et godt utdanningssystem. Satt på spissen kan man si at utdanning og arbeid forebygger ulikhet, mens velferdsstaten og skattesystemet omfordeler ressurser for å gjøre ulikheten enda lavere enn den ellers ville vært. 

Et kvalitativt godt utdanningssystem er selvsagt veldig mye bedre enn et dårlig utdanningssystem. Og formålet med å satse på bl.a. etterutdanning av lærere, fraværsgrenser og tidlig innsats er at det skal gi oss en bedre utdanning. Jeg tror det er enighet om at faglig sterke lærere og tidlig innsats er viktig. Men også fraværsgrensen i videregående opplæring kan vise seg å bli et viktig tiltak mot ulikhet: Hvis fraværet synker, kan det også være at frafallet synker. Og det er viktig. Som min kollega Marius Doksheim viser i dette notatet om tiltak mot ulikhet, har utdanningsnivå stor betydning for fremtidig arbeidsdeltakelse og inntekt. De med lav utdanning utgjør en stor andel av de med de laveste inntektene. Forekomsten av vedvarende lavinntekt er omtrent tre ganger høyere blant de med utdanning kun på grunnskolenivå enn den er blant de med fullført høyere utdanning. Utdanning er også avgjørende for økonomisk vekst, omstillingsevne og mulighetslikhet. Og det påvirker levestandard, helse, kriminalitet, tillit og demokratisk deltakelse. God utdanning er altså godt for nesten alt.

Det er også oppsiktsvekkende at Gerhardsen mer enn antyder (eller harselerer med) at Solberg er alene om å peke på utdanning som et av de aller viktigste tiltakene for å bekjempe ulikhet. Svært mange mener nemlig det samme. 

Gerhardsen viser selv til OECD-rapporten "Divided we stand" fra 2011, og der kan vi lese blant annet dette: 

"Investing in human capital is key. This must include the early childhood period and be sustained through compulsory education. Once the transition from school to work has been accomplished successfully, there must be sufficient incentives for workers and employers to invest in skills throughout the working life." Og videre: "the results from the study highlight the central role of education. The rise in the supply of skilled workers considerably offset the increase in wage dispersion associated with technological progress, regulatory reforms and institutional changes. The upskilling of the labour force also had a significant impact on employment growth. The growth in average educational attainment thus appears to have been the single most important factor contributing not only to reduced wage dispersion among workers but also to higher employment rates."

I en nyere OECD-rapport, "In it together" , fra 2015 kan vi lese dette:

"Skills and education: A focus on the early years, as well as on the needs of families with school children, is crucial in addressing socio-economic differences in education. More must be done to provide youth with the skills they need to get a good start in the labour market. With a rapidly evolving economy, further efforts, with the close involvement of business and unions, should be made in promoting a continuous up-grading of skills during the working life." Og videre:"the inability of individuals from poor socio-economic background to access higher education and developing their human capital is at the heart of the transmission mechanism through which income inequality lowers economic growth. The reverse is true as well: the trend towards higher educational attainment and better skills has been one of the most important elements to foster economic growth in the long run and, at the same time, to partially counteract the trend toward higher earnings inequality."

Og OECD sier flere ting, bl.a. dette:

"So what exactly can be done? An important first step is providing access to high quality early childhood education (ECEC) for all children. There is now a wealth of evidence, including longitudinal studies, that investing in ECEC yields high returns in boosting cognitive and non-cognitive skills, as well as later success in the labour market, especially for disadvantaged children. (...) Once in school, the quality of instruction and available resources matter. Improving the performance of disadvantaged schools is crucial: On average, advantaged schools in the OECD have lower student teacher ratios, meaning more individualised attention to each student. They also tend to have more qualified and more experienced teachers. This means that novice teachers are more likely to be placed in lower achieving and more challenging schools."

Også i Norge kan dette være et problem: Vi har omtrent verdens høyeste lærertetthet, men mange lærere er ufaglærte eller mangler fordypning og kvalifikasjoner i faget de underviser i. Det er blant annet derfor etter- og videreutdanning er viktig.

OECD sier også dette om lærerkvalitet: 

"Despite the large effect of teachers on student performance, disadvantaged schools are not always staffed with the highest quality teachers. Policies must raise teacher quality for disadvantaged schools and students by: providing targeted teacher education to ensure that teachers receive the skills and knowledge they need for working in schools with disadvantaged students; providing mentoring programmes for novice teachers; developing supportive working conditions to improve teacher effectiveness and increase teacher retention; and develop adequate financial and career incentives to attract and retain high quality teachers in disadvantaged schools." 

I en helt fersk OECD-rapport om lærernes rolle kan vi bl.a. lese dette: 

"The education systems that have succeeded in improving student outcomes in our rapidly evolving landscape point the way forward: teachers must be the top priority. Teachers need new solutions to today's unprecedented demands and challenges. They have to be able to prepare students to face technologically-driven change, to work in different jobs and  fields or create their own work environment, to distinguish the quality of sources of information, to become critical thinkers, to adapt to change, to relate to people with different cultural background and beliefs, to persevere when confronted with adversity and to learn throughout their lives.

The adaptability of education systems and their ability to evolve ultimately depends on enabling teachers to transform what and how students learn. Teachers have a positive impact on their students' outcomes when they engage in direct instruction and are able to adapt it to the different needs of their diverse classrooms. A positive disciplinary climate is also essential for teachers to be able to improve student performance and have a sense of well-being and self-efficacy. To strengthen support for teachers, pre-service training offered by education institutions needs to meet high standards, selection procedures need to be sufficiently demanding, and in-service teacher training needs to move from courses and workshops with little impact to new forms of professional development that integrate mentoring by highly skilled teachers, new forms of professional collaboration between teachers and lifelong learning."

Eller for å sitere Verdensbanken og IMF:

IMF: "Higher inequality lowers growth by
 depriving the ability of lower-income households to stay healthy and accumulate
 physical and human capital. (...) Education policies are key. In a world in which technological change is increasing productivity and simultaneously mechanizing jobs, raising skill levels is critical for reducing the dispersion of earnings. Improving education quality, eliminating financial barriers to higher education, and providing support for apprenticeship programs are all key to boosting skill levels in both tradable and nontradable sectors. These policies can also help improve the income prospects of future generations as educated individuals are better able to cope with technological and other changes that directly influence productivity levels. In advanced economies, with an already high share of secondary or tertiary graduates among the working-age population, policies that improve the quality of upper secondary or tertiary education would be important."

Og Verdensbanken: "In middle- and high-income countries, where the quantity of education has been more impressive than its results, ensuring the quality of education is a priority»​.

Eller for å nevne en av Agendas foretrukne økonomer, Thomas Piketty«To sum up: the best way to increase wages and reduce wage inequalites in the long run is to invest in education and skills».

Eller Raj Chetty, som gjestet Agenda ifjor: 

"Students assigned to high-VA teachers are more likely to attend college, attend higher-ranked colleges, earn higher salaries, live in higher SES neighborhoods, and save more for retirement. They are also less likely to have children as teenagers. Teachers have large impacts in all grades from 4 to 8." (...) "Replacing a teacher whose VA is in the bottom 5% with an average teacher would increase the present value of students' lifetime income by more than $250,000 for the average classroom in our sample. We conclude that good teachers create substantial economic value and that test score impacts are helpful in identifying such teachers."

Også den globale utdanningskommisjonen, som jeg selv har hatt gleden av å være med i, er opptatt av utdanningens betydning for fremtidig inntekt og levestandard i sin rapport.

Mange flere internasjonale kilder kunne vært nevnt, men jeg tror dette holder for å vise at Erna Solberg hverken er helt på jordet når hun vil ha mer etterutdanning, eller helt alene når hun mener at utdanning er viktig - ja, kanskje viktigst - for å bekjempe ulikhet og bevare små forskjeller.

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