US Trailing In Higher Education

The United States is no longer the global leader in postsecondary degrees, according to an article in the The Washington Post.

            A postsecondary degree is any degree that one attains after high school. It could be an Associate’s Degree, Bachelor’s Degree or Master’s Degree.

            This trend is consistent with other findings that k-12 students in the United States are lagging behind many other foreign students.

            The Washington Post cited a recent report from the College Board, stating that the United States has fallen from first to 12th in the number of adults aged 25-34 with a postsecondary degree. Only 40.4 percent of adults in the aforementioned age range hold degrees, as of 2007.

            The report stated that Canada is now the global leader in adults with postsecondary degrees. 55.8 percent of Canadian adults have a postsecondary degree, also as of 2007.       

             This report was presented to Capitol Hill on Thursday, July 22nd. Politicians and upper-echelon educators have posted a goal of becoming the global leader in education by 2025, with 55 percent of the adult population holding a postsecondary degree.

            President Barack Obama, however, has slightly different goals. His American Graduation Initiative aims at reclaiming global leadership for adults with postsecondary degrees by 2020.

            This report only considered young adults aged 25-34. The United States ranks sixth, globally when older adults are considered.

            The College Board’s report is creating concern among politicians and educators because Generation Y (age group 18-34) is speculated to be the first generation in the modern era to be less-educated than their parents.

            However, the percentage of young adults with postsecondary degrees has actually risen from 38.1 percent in 2000 to 41.6 in 2008, according to The Washington Post’s citation of census data.

            The report also ranked the most educated states. The District of Columbia was considered a state, and it is the most educated with 62.2 percent of adults aged 25-34 holding a postsecondary degree.

            Many policy-makers and education administrators are implementing programs to foster stronger education in the United States. They are recommending that state and national leaders implement universal pre-kindergarten education programs, even for low-income students. Policy-makers are pushing for more efficient college counseling programs that significantly reduce dropout rates and more streamlined college admission programs. It is believed that some of these programs could produce more college graduates.