Our Achilles heel is elementary and secondary education. American high school students routinely score at, or close to, the bottom on international assessments of math and science achievement, well below students from such countries as Japan, Ireland and Slovakia.It might be, as he goes on to argue, that higher college completion rates are a prerequisite to the development of the higher-order cognitive and non-cognitive skills.
A college education has always been the principal vehicle for transformative change: for moving from poverty to the middle class — and to the upper-middle class. College prepares the leaders of tomorrow.But how much talent is squandered as students enter with eighth-grade literacy and sixth-grade math, and flounder in remediation for a year and drop out, or shun the more technical courses as too daunting, all a consequence of the No Child Gets Ahead corollary of No Child Left Behind?
Furthermore, many innovative teachers and professors introduce students to practical entrepreneurial, career-building skills. You don’t have to look beyond higher education to learn how to network, to communicate a new idea persuasively, or to lead a group.
Aside from earnings and career enhancement, a liberal arts education adds to the pleasure and meaning of one’s life. A college education enlarges students’ worldview, introduces them to culturally enriching experiences, and compels students to review, question and solidify their core values.