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January 24, 2014

Jason Howe and Adrian Perez (L) hold their one-year-old twin daughters Clara (R) and Olivia at a playground in West Hollywood, California (Lucy Nicholson/Courtesy Reuters). New Harvard Study: U.S. Social Mobility Is Not Decreasing

There is no question that income inequality has been increasing since the 1970s in most of the world. And it has been the general assumption that as inequality went up, class mobility between generat…

January 2, 2014

Case worker Jessica Yon discusses job eligibility for unemployed people at a jobs center in San Francisco, California (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). Is There a Skills Gap? It’s Less Clear-Cut Than You Think

Closing the “skills gap” is high on the list of priorities for Washington policymakers. But the debate behind the skills gaps—whether it exists, how large it might be, and what to do about it—is much…

November 6, 2013

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the SelectUSA 2013 Investment Summit in Washington What's Behind Obama’s Push to Attract Foreign Businesses?

Last week the Obama administration hosted the first-ever national summit showcasing the United States as an attractive place to do business, part of a newish initiative called SelectUSA. The event wa…

October 16, 2013

Thomas Michel, a professor at Harvard Medical School, waits for the start of the 360th Commencement Exercises at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts May 26, 2011. (Brian Snyder/Courtesy Reuters) What Does Adult Mediocrity Mean for U.S. Competitiveness? It's Complicated

It is old news that average American student performance is mediocre on international tests. With the recent release of the OECD’s first survey of adult skills, we now know that American adults conti…

September 3, 2013

College students take their seats at a diploma ceremony (Brian Snyder/Reuters). Making Colleges Accountable: One Step Forward, But More to Go

The most ambitious part of President Obama’s new college accountability plan unveiled in August—tying the eligibility of schools for federal student aid to demonstrated results in preparing students …

August 15, 2013

A police vehicle escorts visitors through one of two tunnels that will replace a stretch of California's Highway 1 near Pacifica, California on March 25, 2013 (Robert Galbraith/Courtesy Reuters). Transportation: Overhyped “Can-Do” States and P3s

Advocates for more U.S. transportation spending are accustomed to discouraging news. So it is understandable they would claim a resounding victory when a handful of (small) “can-do” states manage to …

May 13, 2013

President Obama holds up a baby after speaking in Las Vegas (Larry Downing/Courtesy Reuters). The U.S. Demographic “Advantage” Reconsidered

In the litany of Washington debates about current and future U.S. economic competitiveness, demographics is consistently placed on the advantage side of the U.S. competitiveness ledger. A broad view …

March 25, 2013

Cars wait in a traffic jam in New York City (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters). The Sales Tax: The New Way to Fund Transportation?

Engineers have been browbeating U.S. policymakers about the dire state of the country’s infrastructure for years. This year is no different. Last week the American Society of Civil Engineers gave U.S…

February 20, 2013

Pre-school graduation (Paul Schultz/Flickr). The Critical Missing Education Piece: Universal Pre-K

President Obama’s call in last week’s State of the Union address for high-quality pre-kindergarten education for all American children is long overdue. The rest of the developed world is well ahead …

February 1, 2013

A preschooler on his first day of school in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Bazuki Muhammad/Courtesy Reuters). Education: Do International Test Scores Matter?

We’ve all seen the headlines: American students are far from stellar performers on international tests. Whether it’s the OECD’s oft-cited gold-standard PISA test on math and reading, the TIMSS test o…