Despite the moderately optimistic appraisal of the preceding post, the yearend edition of the Kiplinger Letter highlights the most troubling aspect of America’s global situation – the woeful state of America’s education system vis-a-vis the world. As they write, there is “one area where the US is getting left in the dust: Public education. Over the last century, US workers were the world’s best educated. That’s no longer the case. Over the past three decades or so, South Korea, Japan, Norway, Canada, Switzerland and others have overtaken the US in the portion of people who enter the workforce with a high school diploma or its local equivalent. New Zealand, Hungary and other countries are on the verge of doing so.”
But it gets worse. Without even mentioning geography, history, civics and foreign languages, the Kiplinger Letter observes that “in math, science and literacy, foreign students are outpacing Americans. The US falls in the middle or bottom of the pack in the three continuing studies to compare young people’s academic achievement in a variety of countries, though one recent report showed significant gains in US math scores since 2003.
“Because more jobs require higher education, the trend’s especially troubling. By 2016, nearly 80% of all US jobs will require more than a high school diploma, but 70 million Americans between the ages 25 and 40 haven’t gone past grade 12. In fact, the US is the only industrialized country where the generation entering the workforce is less educated than the one leaving it [my bolding added], though Germany is getting close to that point.”