Friday, June 16, 2006

The waning of America's higher education

U.S. may be losing global edge, study suggests

According to a new report, America’s competitive edge in higher education is waning. The U.S. has formidable rates when it comes to students entering postsecondary education, but declining rates of actual degree attainment. In 2002, the U.S. ranked only 13th in the percent of the population that enters postsecondary education and then completes a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Much of the decline seems to be taking place in a number of major states with large populations. reports on the study, conducted by the University of California, Berkeley.

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Dennis Fermoyle said...

Well, it's nice to see someone having shots taken at them besides K-12 public education, but I have trouble taking this too seriously. Whenever anyone talks about anything having to do with education in America, they make it sound like there's some sort of crisis looming. According to what "A Nation at Risk" said about our public education system 23 years ago, our country should have completely fallen apart by now. Somehow we manage to keep chugging along, though. For some reason, I think I'll hold off on pushing the panic button about the job our colleges are doing.

Georganna Hancock said...

This should surprise no one, given our consistent low rankings in achievement testing of the students in their pre-college years. Just because we admit them doesn't mean they're actually well-prepared for college.

DCS said...

Dennis: As long as humans are running our K-12 and higher education institutions, we'll never have perfection. However, I must say that I've been concerned for the past 20 years about the fact that so many students who enter college never finish. The disparity is higher among certain ethnic and socioeconomic groups. In general, the problem isn't that the students aren't capable. Often, we put barriers in the way to keep these students from graduating. Or we take advantage of athletes because of their sports prowess and allow them to slide when it comes to their academics.

You are right. Public education will continue to exist. So will higher education. I think we should always be striving to improve education. If someone ran a Fortune 500 company the way many educational institutions are run - that company would be doomed to failure because it is not results-driven.

If higher education or K-12 education needs some shoring up in some areas, let leave our egos at the door and examine if we're achieving our goals in all areas. If we are, great. If we are not, we should examine how we can do things differently and more effectively.

DCS said...

By the way, Dennis - Happy Father's Day!

Deb Sistrunk said...

Georganna: Amen!