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If Education Is Expensive, Try Ignorance

Posted by Larry Doyle on December 16, 2010 7:01 AM |

I love our country. With four children I certainly hope for better days ahead. That said, while the virtue of hope is critically important to the growth and fiber of any institution, including a nation, hope alone will not bring us to the promised land. What is needed?

A strong educated pool of labor. How is the United States doing on this front? Poor? Pathetic? Abysmal? All of the above? That would be ‘all of the above.’ Our education “chickens are coming home to roost,” as a report released last week highlights. ABC News reported, China Debuts At Top of International Education Rankings,

report out today, “Highlights From PISA 2009: Performance of U.S. 15-Year-Old Students in Reading, Mathematics, and Science Literacy in an International Context,” shows the U.S. now ranks 25th in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading out of the 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

While OECD countries such as Finland, South Korea, Canada, Japan, Switzerland and New Zealand continue to outpace the U.S. in reading, science and math, all eyes are on China. In its first year to be included in the study as a non-OECD education system, Shanghai ranked first in all three categories. Hong Kong came in second in reading and science and third in math.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan said the findings, “to be brutally honest, show that a host of developed nations are out-educating us.”

“The findings, I have to admit, show that the United States needs to urgently accelerate student learning to try to remain competitive in the knowledge economy of the 21st century,” Duncan said at a press conference in Washington. “Americans need to wake up to this educational reality, instead of napping at the wheel while emerging competitors prepare their students for economic leadership.”

The U.S. did show improvement in science and math from 2006 to 2009, but Duncan said, “I don’t think that’s much for us to celebrate. Being average in science is a mantle of mediocrity.”

While the factors impacting our pathetic educational performance are many and varied, the simple fact is our nation is failing when it comes to educating our future generation. What are the impacts of that? How much time do you have?

As I have often said, ‘if you think education is expensive, try ignorance.’ I do not mean to be overly harsh but merely brutally honest in stating that the the social costs of ignorance are crippling our nation.

Larry Doyle

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I have no affiliation or business interest with any entity referenced in this commentary. The opinions expressed here are my own and not those of Greenwich Investment Management. As the President of Greenwich Investment Management, an SEC regulated privately held registered investment adviser, I am merely a proponent of real transparency within our markets so that investor confidence and investor protection can be achieved.

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