Saturday, August 7, 2010

I am not certain that word means what they think it does

From the New York times comes the news that Once a Leader, U.S. Lags in College Degrees. Let us see what is meant by the word lags:

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.

I suppose that it is true that the United States is lagging behind the number one country. Who is that?

Canada now leads the world in educational attainment, with about 56 percent of its young adults having earned at least associate’s degrees in 2007, compared with only 40 percent of those in the United States. (The United States’ rate has since risen slightly.)

So a small country with a highly credential based society and a large network of Universities and Colleges with financial incentives to expand is actually able to beat the United States in proportion of degrees?

I am curious as to whether this change is due to Canadian improvements or US decline? But, either way, being in the top half of developed countries is an odd definition of "lags".

Finally, let's look at the proposed remedy:

The group’s first five recommendations all concern K-12 education, calling for more state-financed preschool programs, better high school and middle school college counseling, dropout prevention programs, an alignment with international curricular standards and improved teacher quality.

I am unclear exactly how these things directly link with the proportion of college graduates in the general population. One might think that a better place to start would be to look at what the Canadians are actually doing. After all, they are only a short drive north . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment