"THE COMPETITION THAT REALLY MATTERS" is the one where the U.S. fends off China and India to stay atop the global podium, asserts this report from the left-leaning Center for American Progress. It builds on a familiar trope: the U.S. is "stalling" on education policies needed to stay competitive for a 21st century workforce while China and India are "sprinting" ahead. Some of the report's supporting numbers could use better framing. (Is it really that surprising that China and India will have more college graduates given that they have more than three times the population of the U.S.?) But what is clear: these countries are definitely pumping money into their education systems while the U.S. appears to waver back-and-forth.
How efficiently the money is spent--and what outcomes it produces--remain to be seen. According to "Oceans of Innovation," a recent report from U.K.-based Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), more than just money factors into how students perform academically. "...Neither the schools nor the parents in Pacific Asia expect their children to do poorly simply because they are from poor backgrounds. The low expectations that have dogged Atlantic systems--in the U.S. as a result of race, in the U.K. as a result of class--are absent." (p. 42) Implication: in Asian, no-excuse cultures, everyone crams, regardless of socioeconomic status. To this point, however, researcher Yong Zhao has often cited data pointing to a negative correlation between good test takers and entrepreneurial activity. Taking this into consideration, the report attempted to conjure a magic formula for what constitutes "good" education: Well-educated = Ethics(Knowledge+Thinking+Leadership). (p. 47)
We're a bit dubious about both the math and grammar there, but the sentiment is nice.