48th Is Not a Good Place
A sobering NYT editorial:
The National Academies, the country's leading advisory group on science and technology, warned in 2005 that unless the United States improved the quality of math and science education, at all levels, it would continue to lose economic ground to foreign competitors.
The situation remains grim. According to a follow-up report published last month, the academies found that the United States ranks 27th out of 29 wealthy countries in the proportion of college students with degrees in science or engineering, while the World Economic Forum ranked this country 48th out of 133 developed and developing nations in quality of math and science instruction.
More than half the patents awarded here last year were given to companies from outside the United States. In American graduate schools, nearly half of students studying the sciences are foreigners; while these students might once have spent their careers here, many are now opting to return home.
In a 2009 survey, nearly a third of this country's manufacturing companies reported having trouble finding enough skilled workers.
The academies call on federal and state governments to improve early childhood education, strengthen the public school math and science curriculum, and improve teacher training in these crucial subjects. It calls on government and colleges to provide more financial and campus support to students who excel at science.
October 26, 2010