Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Americans don't need no education

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The Times reports on a rather significant skills gap that is leaving the U.S. behind:

American adults lag well behind their counterparts in most other developed countries in the mathematical and technical skills needed for a modern workplace, according to a study released Tuesday. 

The study, perhaps the most detailed of its kind, shows that the well-documented pattern of several other countries surging past the United States in students' test scores and young people's college graduation rates corresponds to a skills gap, extending far beyond school. In the United States, young adults in particular fare poorly compared with their international competitors of the same ages — not just in math and technology, but also in literacy.

More surprisingly, even middle-aged Americans — who, on paper, are among the best-educated people of their generation anywhere in the world — are barely better than middle of the pack in skills. 

Yes, America is truly exceptional in its educational mediocrity. And that's being generous.

Maybe genuine and sustained commitment to, you know, education would help. And by that I don't mean the right-wing education "reform" (e.g., charter schools) that excites conservatives and would essentially segregate the country into the few who get it and the many who don't. I mean a focus on quality accessible public education from pre-school programs all the way through affordable higher education.

Oooh, so radical, huh? Well, what you got now ain't workin'.


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