You likely have heard alarming reports stating that U.S. employees are falling behind those in other countries. Unfortunately, these reports are accurate: working age adults (16-65) were studied by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, a coalition of mainly developed nations. It found that U.S. workers are near the bottom in three areas: literacy, numeracy, and problem solving using computer skills.
One in six Americans scored near the bottom in literacy. In Japan, the number was one in 20. Americans’ abilities in numeracy were rated “very poor,” outscoring only Spain and Italy. They also scored below average in logic and problem solving using computer skills.
One likely cause for the dismal showing, particularly by young Americans, is that high school graduation rates have stood still while many other countries have realized that new skills were needed for the new economy. The governments of other countries take very seriously the results of studies such as that by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and have increased teacher training requirements as well as other prescriptive plans to improve performance in all areas. However, in the United States the problems may be recognized, but it’s hard to find evidence that serious efforts are being made to improve the quality and depth of education. No Child Left Behind was not the answer. It seems as if we are sleeping while students in many other countries are rushing past us. Think what this implies for our future.