The U.S. education system is not as internationally competitive as it used to be; in fact, the United States has slipped ten spots in both high school and college graduation rates over the past three decades, according to a new report and scorecard from the Council on Foreign Relations' Renewing America initiative, which examines the domestic foundations of U.S. power. U.S. national security is directly linked to issues such as education because shortcomings among American workers threaten the country's ability to compete with other countries and set a compelling example internationally.
The scorecard infographic and accompanying progress report, "Remedial Education: Federal Education Policy," highlights the main challenges facing the U.S. education system and assesses whether federal education policy is effectively addressing them.
Education is a linchpin of inclusive economic development, but poor countries in Africa and elsewhere too often fail poor students—worsening inequity and exclusion today, and undermining economic opportunities for future generations.
Since the end of the industrial age, Americans have worried about improving their education system. But the country has never been able to make much progress. Other nations do it better, and the United States must learn from their examples if it hopes to catch up.
Asked by Georgia Ossorguine, from Grace Church School
Yingluck Shinawatra was elected prime minister of Thailand in July 2011. She has so far achieved the most important thing in Thailand today, which is preserving a fragile peace between different interest groups and political sides.
American policymakers have long been concerned about the eroding U.S. advantage in educating science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) students. With much of the assembly work for lucrative high-technology products having moved to Asia, future U.S. prosperity depends increasingly on innovating new products and techniques—innovation that requires training (or importing) a new generation of scientists and engineers.
Peter Orszag argues that widening gaps in college completion rates between rich and poor students not only undermines the American ideal of equal opportunity, but also misses an economic opportunity to boost productivity.
With money playing an ever more important role in politics, institutions of higher education need to lead the charge for greater accountability in corporate political spending, says Terra Lawson-Remer.
Authors: Terra Lawson-Remer and Dan Apfel The Chronicle of Higher Education
University endowments ought to be invested in corporations that promote their institutions' mission, argues Terra Lawson-Remer. But for that happen, the Securities and Exchange Commission will first have to require public corporations to disclose their campaign spending activities.
Education must become a central focus to ensure a stable and prosperous U.S. in the future, write Margaret Spellings and Joel Klein. Klein lead the CFR-sponsored Independent Task Force on U.S. Education Reform and National Security.
Megan McArdle examines whether college is a worthwhile investment in a time when the rising costs are leaving parents and students with large amounts of debt and college degrees no longer guarantee a job after graduation.
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The authors argue that the United States has responded inadequately to the rise of Chinese power and recommend placing less strategic emphasis on the goal of integrating China into the international system and more on balancing China's rise.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »