(This post was co-authored by Evelyn B. Stacey, Education Studies Policy Fellow at the Pacific Research Institute in Sacramento, California)

Looking for a recession-proof investment? Try private education. In both America and Britain “there is little sign of a recession-induced meltdown in private schooling,” according to the Economist. This resilience comes on the heels of a new study that finds a roughly 30 percent earnings gap between private school students and their government-school counterparts in both England and the U.S. The study determined that family background had little to do with this advantage. Likewise, the U.S. Department of Education finds that “students who had attended private school in 8th grade were twice as likely as those who had attended public school to have completed a bachelor’s or higher degree by their mid-20s” (p. 24). Private-school benefits are even more pronounced for students from the most disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds. In spite of low parental expectations disadvantaged students who “attended private school completed a bachelor’s or higher degree at a rate about four times that of public school students” (p. 24). (See also here and here). With the earnings gap widening over the last 50 years, it is no wonder most private schools are not feeling a huge “dent” compared to the rest of the economy. Parents know the value of education-especially since average private schools cost them $6,600 compared to average public schools, which cost them $10,615 in taxes. Sweden may have found the key to harnessing the power of private schools for all citizens. There, education funding follows students to the schools of their parents choice, making the distinction between “public” and “private” virtually meaningless. America’s investment in education funding has risen 49 percent in the last 20 years. A return on investment has yet to be seen. The Swedish system tops international student achievement rankings. Why not do for American students what is now working in Sweden and so many other countries?