Dear Commons Community,
Charles Blow in his column today, examines the state of education in the China, India and the United States. Blow cites data from the Center for American Progress and the Center for the Next Generation in a recently released report entitled The Competition That Really Matters: Comparing U.S., Chinese and Indian Investments in the Next Generation Workforce. For example:
- Half of U.S. children get no early childhood education, and we have no national strategy to increase enrollment.
- More than a quarter of U.S. children have a chronic health condition, such as obesity or asthma, threatening their capacity to learn.
- More than 22 percent of U.S. children lived in poverty in 2010, up from about 17 percent in 2007.
- More than half of U.S. postsecondary students drop out without receiving a degree.
Now compare that with the report’s findings on China. It estimates that “by 2030, China will have 200 million college graduates — more than the entire U.S. work force,” and points out that by 2020 China plans to:
- Enroll 40 million children in preschool, a 50 percent increase from today.
- Provide 70 percent of children in China with three years of preschool.
- Graduate 95 percent of Chinese youths through nine years of compulsory education (that’s 165 million students, more than the U.S. labor force).
- Ensure that no child drops out of school for financial reasons.
- More than double enrollment in higher education.
Blow’s conclusion is that the U.S. is being short-sighted in its priorities and planning for the future.
As we pursue educational reforms, beating up on teachers — who are underpaid, overworked and always blamed…We’re being outpaced in producing the employees of the future.
We’re cutting back, while our children’s future competitors are plowing ahead.