Monday, October 14, 2013

US Adults Poor Reading Skills

We shouldn’t need more evidence that our country isn’t getting the job done educationally across the board – not just in inner cities – but some people (for example, Ravitch in her new book) seem to think things are just fine and therefore we don’t need to shake up the system. Well, this new study should go a long way toward putting any remaining doubts to rest:

American adults lag well behind their counterparts in most other developed countries in the mathematical and technical skills needed for a modern workplace, according to a study released Tuesday.

The study, perhaps the most detailed of its kind, shows that the well-documented pattern of several other countries surging past the United States in students’ test scores and young people’s college graduation rates corresponds to a skills gap, extending far beyond school. In the United States, young adults in particular fare poorly compared with their international competitors of the same ages — not just in math and technology, but also in literacy.

More surprisingly, even middle-aged Americans — who, on paper, are among the best-educated people of their generation anywhere in the world — are barely better than middle of the pack in skills.

Arne Duncan, the education secretary, released a statement saying that the findings “show our education system hasn’t done enough to help Americans compete — or position our country to lead — in a global economy that demands increasingly higher skills.”

 Subscribe in a reader