Definition of human capital in education

Building Human Capital Infrastructure for Education Reform  May 26, 2011 – 07:44 am
of Human Capital

I’m reading Charles Wheelan‘s Naked Economics at the moment. And I’m finding his definition of “human capital” a handy tool for articulating my larger theory of reforming education training – especially the process or “re-inventing” education in our constant battle to “close the achievement gap” (and by “closing the gap” I hope we mean raising up the laggards as opposed to having the excelling students come down to meet at the median – because our policies and actions don’t always reflect this hope of mine, but I digress). Wheelan’s presentation of human capital gives another layer of insight to my education reform advocacy. When it comes to reforming education in failing schools and neighborhoods, we have to think of how to infuse human capital into that school and neighborhood.

First, what is human capital? “Human capital is the sum total of skills embodied within an individual: education, intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, entrepreneurial vigor, even the ability to throw a baseball fast. It is what you would be left with if someone stripped away all of your assets – your job, your money, your home, your possessions-and left you on a street corner with only the clothes on your back” (99). I would also add to that, it is your network of connections: family and friends.

Source: Dr. Chris Drew

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