Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in College Degrees; Wisconsin Ranks 23rd

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Tamar Lewin, via a Rick Kiley email:

Adding to a drumbeat of concern about the nation’s dismal college-completion rates, the College Board warned Thursday that the growing gap between the United States and other countries threatens to undermine American economic competitiveness.
The United States used to lead the world in the number of 25- to 34-year-olds with college degrees. Now it ranks 12th among 36 developed nations.
“The growing education deficit is no less a threat to our nation’s long-term well-being than the current fiscal crisis,” Gaston Caperton, the president of the College Board, warned at a meeting on Capitol Hill of education leaders and policy makers, where he released a report detailing the problem and recommending how to fix it. “To improve our college completion rates, we must think ‘P-16’ and improve education from preschool through higher education.”

The complete 3.5MB PDF report is available here.

One thought on “Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in College Degrees; Wisconsin Ranks 23rd”

  1. A very confusing article which throws some numbers about but really doesn’t lay out much in the way of facts.
    This information is some report from the College Board, the proponent of the SAT test and similar others. (I haven’t been able to read the original report, because their server is not responding).
    So the percentage of 60 year olds in the US with college degrees is 39-40%, and that is true for young people — so the percentages have not changed.
    Canada is at 56% of people with at least an associates degree and US has about 40%. Does having an associates degree count as having a college degree? Are the college degrees defined for 60 year olds the same as the college degrees for the younger generations?
    The US is now 12th out of 26 developing nations in the “number” of those with college degrees. (Not percentage but number).
    If you can make sense of this mess, congratulations.
    Different countries have different school systems. Some track students as “college” material, others at, say 16, are ushered off to trade schools. Are 2-year trade schools counted as a kind of associates degree? What are students studying? Wouldn’t that be useful to know to accurately compare and contrast the educational opportunities taken? Some countries do not grant education degrees, but require degrees in substantive areas, then a little pedagogy on the side before entering teaching as a profession, for example. This is in contrast to the US.
    Some 2005 data says that “the U.S. is producing 70,000 engineers a year vs. 350,000 from India and 600,000 from China”. Do the “engineer” labels reflect common education and knowledge? Probably not.
    So, absent any other information, this article from the NYT is filler and nothing more — except the pundits and politicians are likely to believe this fluff piece.

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