Hurricane Gray Makes Landfall in the United States

Share Article

Groundbreaking report by ExcelinEd highlights demographic challenges facing public education

Map of US illustrating change in Age Dependency Ratio

*The age dependency ratio is derived by dividing the combined under 18 and 65-and-over populations by the 18-to-64 population and multiplying by 100. These ratios can be predictive of economic growth.

Let this report begin a national conversation on the current trajectory of a public education system that is failing far too many children and doing so at a price that is no longer sustainable.

Today, the Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd), in partnership with the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, released Turn and Face the Strain: Age Demographic Change and the Near Future of American Education by Dr. Matthew Ladner.

This groundbreaking original research report uses the major shift occurring now, and continuing into the foreseeable future, of America's population demographics to draw attention to a crisis of incredible magnitude facing the future of K-12 public education funding in all 50 states.

"Dr. Ladner has been one of the most respected voices in the school choice movement for almost two decades. This groundbreaking research about the demographic challenges facing public education demonstrates why," said ExcelinEd CEO Patricia Levesque. "Let this report begin a national conversation on the current trajectory of a public education system that is failing far too many children and doing so at a price that is no longer sustainable."

Many leaders have recognized how the impending retirement of millions of Baby Boomers is poised to deplete national and state public services budgets, particularly health care. But, what has not been actively discussed, is how that growing elderly population, coupled with a growing youth population and a shrinking American workforce stand to eliminate any possibility of states maintaining current funding levels for K-12 public education.

"Improving education represents the most immediate concern in bracing for the aging of America. Many other areas of the nation's policy, however, will require serious reexamination. Innovations in health care, public pensions and immigration policy will be needed as part of an overall rethinking of American social policy," said ExcelinEd Senior Advisor of Policy and Research Dr. Matthew Ladner. "This much is clear: the status quo for education is not an option."

The aging of the population between now and 2030, termed as "Hurricane Gray" in the report, will profoundly impact all aspects of the financing and operation of American social welfare functions.

  • On every single day between now and the year 2030, 10,000 members of the Baby Boom generation will reach the retirement age of 65.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau's 2012 National Forecast projects that the country will gain over 4.6 million residents ages 5 to 17 between 2010 and 2030.
  • By 2030, 45 out of the 50 states will have a higher percentage of their population aged 65 or older than the oldest state (Florida) did in 2010 and all 50 states will be higher than they were in 2010, also according to the Census Bureau.

Now more than ever, it is critical to improve public schools through all possible means, as the students in the system now will be the workers in the future. Today's K-12 reforms do not begin to match the urgency of our growing need for improved results.

Betsy DeVos, ExcelinEd Board Member and Chairman of The Windquest Group, said, "When parents have a choice in where their children go to school, those competing for their business will have to offer a better product at a better price. The same market-based strategy will unleash the power of innovation to break down barriers to opportunity, ensuring that every child - no matter their family income or ZIP code - gets an equal chance for a high-quality education."

The growing financial crisis demands stronger education reforms to prepare the K-12 students of today with the academic knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in life, secure high-wage jobs, and help tackle the societal challenges that lie ahead. State government policies, if skillfully leveraged, can incentivize higher levels of achievement and discourage abject failure in education. One of the most cost-effective ways is through school choice.

Robert Enlow, Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice President and CEO, said, "Policymakers cannot afford to shortchange students in education. Sadly, with unprecedented financial strains looming for state budgets, that scenario appears all too likely. By giving families school choice, legislative leaders and governors can ensure parents receive the funds they need for their children to access an effective education."

Patrick Byrne, Board Chairman of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice and CEO of, said, "Investing in education is integral to communities' health and well-being, but the returns on those investments are failing to fulfill many families' needs. It is imperative states diversify their educational portfolios to ensure students receive the funding they deserve amid historic pressures facing state budgets. School choice has proved successful in delivering an effective education and saving states money."

Included in the research is a state-by-state analysis that breaks down the demographic challenges ahead.

Turn and Face the Strain was developed in partnership between the Foundation for Excellence in Education and the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, two of the foremost leaders in education reform policy and research.

About the Foundation for Excellence in Education
The Foundation for Excellence in Education is igniting a movement of reform, state by state, to transform education for the 21st century economy by working with lawmakers, policymakers, educators and parents to advance education reform across America.

About the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice
The Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, solely dedicated to advancing Milton and Rose Friedman's vision of school choice for all children. First established as the Milton and Rose D. Friedman Foundation in 1996, the Foundation promotes school choice as the most effective and equitable way to improve the quality of K-12 education in America. The Friedman Foundation is dedicated to research, education, and outreach on the vital issues and implications related to school choice.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Jaryn Emhof
Foundation for Excellence in Education
+1 850-391-4090
Email >
since: 08/2009
Follow >
Foundation for Excellence in Education
since: 02/2009
Like >
Visit website