Task Force Says Inadequate Education Threatens U.S. Prosperity, Security

By:  Jack Kenny
04/17/2012
       
Task Force Says Inadequate Education Threatens U.S. Prosperity, Security

The United States spends more on K-12 education than many other developed countries, but with results so poor that inadequate education threatens national security, according to a study sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. 

 
 

The United States spends more on K-12 education than many other developed countries, but with results so poor that inadequate education threatens national security, according to a study sponsored by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. 

 
"Educational failure puts the United States' future economic prosperity, global position, and physical safety at risk," according to the report of the Independent Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security chaired by Joel I. Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The study warns that the country "will not be able to keep pace — much less lead — globally unless it moves to fix the problems it has allowed to fester for too long."
 
The report points to the results of the 2009 Program for International Student Assessment, which measures the performance of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics, and science every three years. U.S. students placed 14th in reading, 25th in math, and 17th in science in rankings of students in industrialized nations.
 
Other signs of trouble the study notes include the following:
 
• More than 25 percent of students fail to graduate from high school in four years; for African-American and Hispanic students, the number is approaching 40 percent.
• Only a quarter of U.S. students are proficient or better on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Citing a trend that has a bearing on the nation's ability to compete in global markets, the report notes a declining number of schools teach foreign languages and roughly eight in ten Americans speak only English. 
• A recent report by ACT, the not-for-profit testing organization, (formerly American College Testing) found that only 22 percent of U.S. high school students met "college ready" standards in all of their core subjects; the figures are lower for African-American and Hispanic students. 
• The College Board reported that even among college-bound seniors, only 43 percent met college-ready standards, meaning that more college students need to take remedial courses.
 
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