Science, Education & Career

Education at a Glance-2012

Education at a Glance is a must read for those interested in the United States educational standing as compared to the rest of the world. Educational attainment is a commonly used proxy for the stock of human capital - that is, the skills available in the population and the labor force. As globalization and technology continue to re-shape the needs of the global labor market, the demand for literate, career ready citizens-individuals who possess a broader knowledge base, more specialized skills, advanced analytical capacities, and complex communication skills-continues to rise. The U.S. is producing less capable citizens than in generation's past, while in emerging markets more individuals are pursuing higher levels of education than in previous generations. This is leading to significant shifts in attainment levels over time within countries and will change world economies. This report sheds light on the policy levers and contextual factors that shape these outcomes, and the broader private and social returns that accrue to investments in education.

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The Economic COST of the United States Education Gap

Gaps in academic achievement cost the US economy trillions of dollars a year. A persistent gap in academic achievement between children in the United States and their counterparts in other countries deprived the US economy of as much as $2.3 trillion in economic output in 2008 alone. The seminal US government report, A Nation at Risk, sounded the alarm about the "rising tide of mediocrity" in American schools. Leading educational researchers and scientists who assessed the landscape of academic research and educational-achievement data, found solutions, yet few have been implemented or sustained in the public school system. This is affecting every American citizen and will continue to stifle the earnings potential of workers, and GDP.

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Defining a 21st Century Education: At a glance

Broadly speaking, five major lessons emerge from the expert research and opinion on what kinds of knowledge and skills will most benefit students in the future. Literacy competency is the foundation for all educational attainment. This leads to applied skills and proficiencies that can best be taught in the context of the academic curriculum, not as a replacement for it or "add on" to it; in fact, cognitive research suggests that some competencies like critical thinking and problem solving are highly dependent on deep content knowledge and cannot be taught in isolation.

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