In a speech at the University of Texas, President Obama highlighted the dramatic drop in college graduates. According to a recent College Board report the United States ranks 12th among 36 developing nations in the number of college graduates ages 25-34. Not only are we losing college graduates we are faltering as an economic power. We can no longer wait to reposition ourselves by investing so little of the nation’s budget in K12 and college education.
The door is open for the United States to make education an economic priority. There are rapid changes all over the world which require students who can think and create new products and services at a fast rate. Too many countries are ahead of the United States in marketing and selling products to the world. Producing more college graduates by 2020 will make America’s companies more competitive. The United States must open the doors to college at all levels. Community colleges must be a part of the plan to increase college graduation rates. A community college education can be beneficial for the traditional and non-traditional age college student. Part of creating a sustainable society is looking at all dimensions of the economic challenges that we face. It seems that education takes second place to other national priorities.
Arne Duncan Secretary of education says that 60 percent of the population who are ages 25-34 need to graduate with a college degree. Currently, only 40 percent of college age students are graduating from their university. It’s time to find a way to close the education gap that persists at the K12 level. There is a big question regarding who is qualified to receive a college education. Too many students are 3 or 4 years behind their grade level when they graduate from high school. The root of the K12 problem must be addressed simultaneously with the college push.
Too many people do not understand the economic importance of increasing the number of college graduates. They act like we’re still an agricultural and manufacturing society. The information age is shifting the way that we manufacture and sell products around the world. Students need to be competent at higher levels to create the new businesses that will compete and raise our economic position around the world. If we do not change our approach to education students will continue to slide and incomes in the United States will remain stagnant.
President Obama has a plan to invest in education now. The congress and the senate must act on his initiatives rather than focus on policies that are politically expedient. Underfunding education will result in bigger problems in the years ahead. We need to increase the number of college graduates to fill the demands as the baby boomers begin to retire. If we do not prepare the next generation companies will continue to move abroad. Companies will get employees wherever they can find them. It’s important that we find ways to maximize the learning opportunities for every student.